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Age at the onset of senescence in birds and mammals is predicted by early-life performance

G. Péron O. Gimenez A. Charmantier J.M. Gaillard 1 P.A. Crochet 
1 Biodémographie évolutive
Département écologie évolutive [LBBE]
Abstract : Life-history theory predicts that traits involved in maturity, reproduction and survival correlate along a fast-slow continuum of life histories. Evolutionary theories and empirical results indicate that senescence-related traits vary along this continuum, with slow species senescing later and at a slower pace than fast species. Because senescence patterns are typically difficult to estimate from studies in the wild, here we propose to predict the associated trait values in the frame of life-history theory. From a comparative analysis based on 81 free-ranging populations of 72 species of birds and mammals, we find that a nonlinear combination of fecundity, age at first reproduction and survival over the immature stage can account for ca two-thirds of the variance in the age at the onset of actuarial senescence. Our life-history model performs better than a model predicting the onset based on generation time, and it only includes life-history traits during early life as explanatory variables, i.e. parameters that are both theoretically expected to shape senescence and are measurable within relatively short studies. We discuss the goodfit of our life-history model to the available data in the light of current evolutionary theories of senescence. We further use it to evaluate whether studies that provided no evidence for senescence lasted long enough to include the onset of senescence.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 1:59:52 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, September 25, 2022 - 3:57:13 AM

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G. Péron, O. Gimenez, A. Charmantier, J.M. Gaillard, P.A. Crochet. Age at the onset of senescence in birds and mammals is predicted by early-life performance. Proceedings of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences, 2010, 277 (1695), pp.2849-2856. ⟨10.1098/rspb.2010.0530⟩. ⟨hal-00698129⟩



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