Remember Me
Or use your Academic/Social account:


Or use your Academic/Social account:


You have just completed your registration at OpenAire.

Before you can login to the site, you will need to activate your account. An e-mail will be sent to you with the proper instructions.


Please note that this site is currently undergoing Beta testing.
Any new content you create is not guaranteed to be present to the final version of the site upon release.

Thank you for your patience,
OpenAire Dev Team.

Close This Message


Verify Password:
Verify E-mail:
*All Fields Are Required.
Please Verify You Are Human:
fbtwitterlinkedinvimeoflicker grey 14rssslideshare1
Hayward, A.; Mar, K.; Lahdenpera, M.; Lummaa, V. (2014)
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Languages: English
Types: Article
The evolutionary theory of senescence posits that as the probability of extrinsic mortality increases with age, selection should favour early-life over late-life reproduction. Studies on natural vertebrate populations show early reproduction may impair later-life performance, but the consequences for lifetime fitness have rarely been determined, and little is known of whether similar patterns apply to mammals which typically live for several decades. We used a longitudinal dataset on Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to investigate associations between early-life reproduction and female age-specific survival, fecundity and offspring survival to independence, as well as lifetime breeding success (lifetime number of calves produced). Females showed low fecundity following sexual maturity, followed by a rapid increase to a peak at age 19 and a subsequent decline. High early life reproductive output (before the peak of performance) was positively associated with subsequent age-specific fecundity and offspring survival, but significantly impaired a female's own later-life survival. Despite the negative effects of early reproduction on late-life survival, early reproduction is under positive selection through a positive association with lifetime breeding success. Our results suggest a trade-off between early reproduction and later survival which is maintained by strong selection for high early fecundity, and thus support the prediction from life history theory that high investment in reproductive success in early life is favoured by selection through lifetime fitness despite costs to later-life survival. That maternal survival in elephants depends on previous reproductive investment also has implications for the success of (semi-)captive breeding programmes of this endangered species.

Share - Bookmark

Cite this article