While life histories arise at the intersection of evolutionary and ecological dynamics, most of current life-history theory does not include ecological interactions (such as predator-prey or host-disease dynamics) and little empirical evidence exists examining the effect of life-history evolution on ecological interactions. Life-history theory must move from a dichotomous tradeoff approach to a more integrative concept of individual fitness in an ecological context. An understanding of how life-history patterns respond or do not respond to environmental change will be essential to species management and conservation in the future as will an understanding of how those life-history responses affect ecological- and ecosystem-level dynamics.
See also: Adaptation; Evolutionary Ecology: Overview; Optimal Reproductive Tactics; Phenotypic Plasticity; Sex Ratio; r-Strategist/K-Strategists.
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