Macroevolution of dimensionless life history metrics in tetrapods

Life history hypervolumes for the four classes of tetrapods (Figure 3).


Life-history traits represent organisms’ strategies to navigate the fitness trade-offs between survival and reproduction. Eric Charnov developed three dimensionless metrics to quantify fundamental life-history trade-offs. Lifetime reproductive effort (LRE), relative reproductive lifespan (RRL) and relative offspring size (ROS), together with body mass can be used to classify life-history strategies across the four major classes of tetrapods: amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds. First, we investigate how the metrics have evolved in concert with body mass within tetrapod lineages. In most cases, we find evidence for correlated evolution among body mass and the three dimensionless metrics. Second, we compare life-history strategies across the four classes of tetrapods and find that LRE, RRL and ROS delineate a space in which the major tetrapod classes occupy mostly unique subspaces. These distinct combinations of life-history strategies provide us with a framework to understand the impact of major evolutionary transitions in energetics, physiology and ecology.

In Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
comments powered by Disqus