Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior

Yale Course , Spring 2009 , Prof. Stephen C. Stearns

Lecture 11: Life History Evolution

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Lecture Details :

Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior (EEB 122)

Life history covers three main classes of traits in organisms: age and size at maturity, number and size of offspring, and lifespan and reproductive investment. Organisms must make tradeoffs among these traits that typically cause them to come to evolutionary equilibrium at intermediate values. Life history traits are evolutionary solutions to the ecological problems of the risk of mortality and the acquisition of food, and they are expressed in reaction norms that determine the particular traits that an organism will exhibit when its genes encounter a specific environment during development.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction
04:53 - Chapter 2. Life History and the History of Ideas
08:56 - Chapter 3. Age and Size at Maturity
23:38 - Chapter 4. Size and Number of Babies
31:49 - Chapter 5. Lifespan and Aging
42:32 - Chapter 6. Summary

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:

This course was recorded in Spring 2009.

Course Description :

The Nature of Evolution: Selection, Inheritance, and History - Basic Transmission Genetics - Adaptive Evolution: Natural Selection - Neutral Evolution: Genetic Drift - How Selection Changes the Genetic Composition of Population - The Origin and Maintenance of Genetic Variation - The Importance of Development in Evolution - The Expression of Variation: Reaction Norms - The Evolution of Sex - Genomic Conflict - Life History Evolution - Sex Allocation - Sexual Selection - Species and Speciation - Phylogeny and Systematics - Comparative Methods: Trees, Maps, and Traits - Key Events in Evolution - Major Events in the Geological Theatre - The Fossil Record and Life's History - Coevolution - Evolutionary Medicine - The Impact of Evolutionary Thought on the Social Sciences - The Logic of Science - Climate and the Distribution of Life on Earth - Interactions with the Physical Environment - Population Growth: Density Effects - Interspecific Competition - Ecological Communities - Island Biogeography and Invasive Species - Energy and Matter in Ecosystems - Why So Many Species? The Factors Affecting Biodiversity - Economic Decisions for the Foraging Individual - Evolutionary Game Theory: Fighting and Contests - Mating Systems and Parental Care - Alternative Breeding Strategies - Selfishness and Altruism

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