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Title: A demographic perspective on trait heritability and sex differences in life history
Author: Barthold, Julia A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 725X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Biologists have long used demographic approaches to answer questions in ecology and evolution. The utility of these approaches has meant a constant development and refinement of methods. A key milestone has been the development of phenotype structured population models that link ecology and evolution. Moreover, biostatistical research steadily improves methods to coax demographic information from scarce data. In this thesis, I build upon some of the recent advances in the field. My first three studies focus on the consequences of sex differences in life history for population dynamics. Firstly, I test whether males matter for the dynamics of African lion (Panthera leo) populations via a previously unquantified mechanism: the inheritance of phenotype from father to offspring. Secondly, I develop a method to estimate age-specific mortality rates for both sexes in species where one of the sexes disperses around the age of maturity. Thirdly, I apply this method to study variation in mortality between the sexes and between two populations of African lions. After these three chapters, which make contributions to the field of sex-structured population dynamics, I focus on the integration of phenotype structured modelling and quantitative genetics. I illustrate how heritability of a quantitative character that develops with age depends on (i) viability selection, (ii) fertility selection, (iii) the development of the phenotype with age, and (iv) phenotype inheritance from parents to offspring. Our results question the adequacy of quantitative genetics methods to obtain unbiased estimates of heritability for wild populations. This thesis advances our understanding of population development over ecological time scales. This knowledge has applications in conservation and population management, but also contributes to untangling evolutionary processes in wild animals.
Supervisor: Coulson, Tim Sponsor: Max Planck Institute ; Jesus College ; University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biology ; Zoological sciences ; Ecology (zoology) ; Evolution (zoology) ; population ecology ; biodemography ; integral projection models ; population models ; mortality ; sex differences ; heritability