Bet hedging

When the environment is unpredictable, selection may favor the concentration of reproduction early in life. Alternatively, it may favor spreading reproduction over several seasons or years. If recruitment of offspring is unpredictable from year to year, selection should favor adult survival at the expense of present fecundity (Stearns 1992). When Sandercock and Jaramillo (2002) examined survivorship rates of six species of wintering sparrows in California they found that the life histories were consistent with a bet-hedging hypothesis.

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