Does total reproductive effort evolve independently of offspring size?

M. Julian Caley*, Lin Schwarzkopf, Richard Shine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


In all species, patterns of reproductive allocation have important fitness consequences and therefore important implications for life-history evolution. Nearly universally, theory in this field has modeled as independent the evolution of total allocation to offspring and the subsequent division of this allocation into many small versus few large offspring. Yet, some theory and a very small amount of experimental evidence suggest that these life-history traits may be evolutionarily linked. Using comparative analyses of copepod life histories, we illustrate that rather than being evolutionarily independent these traits can be linked, in this case, across a very large clade of invertebrates. Our results indicate that a more complete understanding of the evolution of these traits will require greater consideration of simultaneous allocation decisions, rather than sequential ones, and other genetic and selective mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1245-1248
Number of pages4
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Comparative method
  • Copepods
  • Effort per progeny
  • Egg size
  • Life-history evolution
  • Offspring size
  • Reproductive effort


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