1932

Abstract

Density-dependent selection, which promotes contrasting patterns of trait means at different population densities, has a long history in population genetics and ecology. The unifying principle from theory is that density-dependent selection operates on phenotypic traits whose values counter the effects of whatever ecological agent is limiting population growth, be it resource competition, predators, or pathogens. However, the complexity inherent in density dependence means that the same selective process can generate multiple outcomes, depending upon the details of how population density affects vital rates and the age or size structure of a population. Failure to appreciate the potential for multiple outcomes confounded many early studies of the process. Nonetheless, careful empirical work in laboratory studies, long-term field studies, and studies of sexual selection demonstrates the wide reach of density-dependent selection. The inconsistent outcomes observed in these studies call for renewed research into how the details of density dependence channel adaptive responses.

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2023-11-02
2024-04-17
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