Evol Ecol Res 2: 375-383 (2000)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Evolution of life-history variation among species of altricial birds

Eric L. Charnov

Department of Biology, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-1091, USA


A unified approach is developed for the comparative structure of bird life histories. It combines four basic components (individual production rate as a function of adult body size, stable demography, inter-generational competition for breeding sites, and natural selection for an optimal size) to predict both the powers and intercepts of the interspecific allometries of life-history variables to adult size. The theory also predicts when a taxon should deviate from the interspecific scaling lines. Finally, the theory predicts (or makes use of ) several dimensionless numbers, particularly the ratio of non-breeders to breeders.

Keywords: allometry, birds, density dependence, dimensional analysis, life-history allometry, population regulation, production.

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