Maternal effects mediated by maternal age: from life histories to population dynamics

T. G. Benton*, J. J. H. St Clair, S. J. Plaistow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1. Maternal effects describe how mothers influence offspring life histories. In many taxa, maternal effects arise by differential resource allocation to young, often identified by variation in propagule size, and which affects individual traits and population dynamics.

2. Using a laboratory model system, the soil mite Sancassania berlesei, we show that, controlling for egg size, older mothers lay eggs that hatch later, develop more slowly, and mature at larger body sizes.

3. Such differences in life histories lead to marked population dynamical effects lasting for multiple generations, as evidenced by an experiment initiated with similarly sized eggs that came from young or old mothers. Differences in maturation from the initial cohort led to differences in population structure and life history that propagated the initial differences over time.

4. Maternal-age effects, which are not related to gross provisioning of the egg and are therefore phenotypically cryptic, can have profound implications for population dynamics, especially if environmental variation can affect the age structure of the adult population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1038-1046
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume77
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008

Keywords

  • BIRDS
  • IMMUNITY
  • SURVIVAL
  • reproductive allocation
  • ANDROGENS
  • intergenerational effects
  • YOLK TESTOSTERONE
  • density dependence
  • DEMOGRAPHY
  • senescence
  • GROWTH
  • transient population dynamics
  • CHICKS
  • EGGS
  • EVOLUTION

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Maternal effects mediated by maternal age: from life histories to population dynamics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this