The physiology of life history trade-offs in animals

A. J. Zera, L. G. Harshman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1173 Scopus citations


The functional causes of life history trade-offs have been a topic of interest to evolutionary biologists for over six decades. Our review of lite history trade-offs discusses conceptual issues associated with physiological aspects of trade-offs, and it describes recent advances on this topic. We focus on studies of four model systems: wing polymorphic insects, Drosophila, lizards, and birds. The most significant recent advances have been: (a) incorporation of genetics in physiological studies of trade-offs, (b) integration of investigations of nutrient input with nutrient allocation, (c) development of more sophisticated models of resource acquisition and allocation, (d) a shift to more integrated, multidisciplinary studies of intraspecific trade-offs, and (e) the first detailed investigations of the endocrine regulation of life history trade-offs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-126
Number of pages32
JournalAnnual Review of Ecology and Systematics
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Allocation
  • Drosophila
  • Energetics
  • Hormones
  • Wing polymorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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