The ecological basis of life history variation in marsupials

Fisher, Diana O., Owens, Ian P. F. and Johnson, Christopher N. (2001) The ecological basis of life history variation in marsupials. Ecology, 82 12: 3531-3540. doi:10.1890/0012-9658(2001)082[3531:TEBOLH]2.0.CO;2

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Author Fisher, Diana O.
Owens, Ian P. F.
Johnson, Christopher N.
Title The ecological basis of life history variation in marsupials
Journal name Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0012-9658
Publication date 2001-12-01
Year available 2001
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1890/0012-9658(2001)082[3531:TEBOLH]2.0.CO;2
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 82
Issue 12
Start page 3531
End page 3540
Total pages 10
Editor Donald R. Strong
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States of America
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Language eng
Abstract Our understanding of the diversity of mammalian life histories is based almost exclusively on eutherian mammals, in which the slow-fast continuum persists even after controlling for effects of body size and phylogeny. In this paper, we use modern comparative methods to test the extent to which this eutherian-based framework can be extrapolated to metatherian mammals. First, we examine the pattern of covariation among life history traits, and second, we test for correlations between variation in life history and variation in six candidate ecological variables: type of diet, extent of intraspecific competition, risk of juvenile mortality, diurnal pattern of activity, arboreality, and rainfall pattern. Even when controlling for body size and phylogeny, we observe a slow-fast continuum in metatherian mammals. Some parameters involved are different from those identified by studies of eutherians, but the underlying relationships among longevity, fecundity, and age at maturity persist. We also show that overall variation in a key life history variable, reproductive output (measured by annual reproductive rate and litter size), is significantly related to variation in type of diet, with a foliage-rich diet being associated with low fecundity. This is interesting because, although ecological correlations have been found within some eutherian subgroups, modern comparative approaches have failed to reveal robust ecological correlates of overall life history diversity in eutherians. Copyright ESA. All rights reserved.
Keyword Ecology
Body Size
Comparative Analysis
Independent Contrasts
Life History
Reproductive Rate
Correlated Evolution
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 48 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 02:27:40 EST