Senescence and its consequences across the tree of life

Activity: Talks and presentationsTalks and presentations in private or public companies


Until surprisingly recently many researchers claimed that senescence, defined as a decline in age-specific survival or fertility with age, would be undetectable in wild animal populations. This is now known to be untrue and numerous studies have demonstrated that senescence is a common feature of mammal and bird life histories. But what about other taxa? Canonical theories on the evolution of senescence imply that senescence is inevitable: all species must senesce. I present results showing that although senescence is common in wild vertebrates, it is not ubiquitous across the tree of life: negligible and negative senescence are commonplace. I consider the factors that may drive these differing senescence characteristics, then highlight the consequences that this variation may have for analyses of population dynamics.

Oral contribution
Period12. Dec 2014
Event titleJoint 2014 Annual Meeting British Ecological Society and Société Française d' Ecologie
Event typeConference
LocationLille, FranceShow on map