A demographic and evolutionary analysis of maternal effect senescence
Hernández, Christina M.
van Daalen, Silke F.
Neubert, Michael G.
Gribble, Kristin E.
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Maternal effect senescence—a decline in offspring survival or fertility with maternal age—has been demonstrated in many taxa, including humans. Despite decades of phenotypic studies, questions remain about how maternal effect senescence impacts evolutionary fitness. To understand the influence of maternal effect senescence on population dynamics, fitness, and selection, we developed matrix population models in which individuals are jointly classified by age and maternal age. We fit these models to data from individual-based culture experiments on the aquatic invertebrate, Brachionus manjavacas (Rotifera). By comparing models with and without maternal effects, we found that maternal effect senescence significantly reduces fitness for B. manjavacas and that this decrease arises primarily through reduced fertility, particularly at maternal ages corresponding to peak reproductive output. We also used the models to estimate selection gradients, which measure the strength of selection, in both high growth rate (laboratory) and two simulated low growth rate environments. In all environments, selection gradients on survival and fertility decrease with increasing age. They also decrease with increasing maternal age for late maternal ages, implying that maternal effect senescence can evolve through the same process as in Hamilton’s theory of the evolution of age-related senescence. The models we developed are widely applicable to evaluate the fitness consequences of maternal effect senescence across species with diverse aging and fertility schedule phenotypes.
© The Author(s), 2020. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in MBL Hernandez, C. M., van Daalen, S. F., Caswell, H., Neubert, M. G., & Gribble, K. E. A demographic and evolutionary analysis of maternal effect senescence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 17(28), (2020):16431-16437, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1919988117.
Suggested CitationMBL Hernandez, C. M., van Daalen, S. F., Caswell, H., Neubert, M. G., & Gribble, K. E. (2020). A demographic and evolutionary analysis of maternal effect senescence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(28), 16431-16437.
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