Life History Trade-Offs Modulate the Speed of Senescence

Roberto Salguero-Gómez, Owen Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The vast amount of scientific attention attracted by ageing research is, to a large extent, due to humanity’s desire to prolong life span and ‘health span’. Still, from a purely ecological and evolutionary point of view, the fact that such a large diversity of longevities exists is extremely puzzling and worthy of investigation in itself. We used two open-data repositories of high-quality demographic information for animals and plants to present a novel overview of the degree of variation in life-history strategies and their component life-history traits, including the speed of senescence, which we evaluate here as the time elapsed from mean age at maturity to the age at which 99 per cent of the individuals in an examined cohort are dead. We explored how life-history traits and strategies are associated with the speed of senescence across 571 species of animals and plants. We found that the speed of senescence varies dramatically across the Tree of Life and that it has a moderate phylogenetic signal when considering both plants and animals but that this signal is stronger in animals than in plants, indicating that the strength of selection on the trait may differ between kingdoms. We next examined how key life-history traits such as mean life expectancy, generation time and the length of life lived before maturity correlate with this measure of senescence, finding that iteroparous, slow-growing species are more likely to senesce slowly and thus attain long mature life spans. We further examined the speed of senescence at two taxonomic levels: comparing kingdoms, with plants more likely to postpone senescence than animals, and, when the data allowed for it, comparing taxonomic classes, where we found that pine trees are particularly slow to senesce, followed by reptiles and sponges. Most mammals, birds and the vast majority of fish in our analyses senesce rapidly.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Evolution of Senescence in the Tree of Life
EditorsRichard Shefferson, Owen Jones, Roberto Salguero-Gomez
Place of PublicationCambridge, UK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication date2017
Pages403-421
Chapter20
ISBN (Print)9781107078505
ISBN (Electronic)9781139939867
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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life history
animals
reptiles
demographic statistics
Pinus
mammals
birds
phylogeny
fish

Cite this

Salguero-Gómez, R., & Jones, O. (2017). Life History Trade-Offs Modulate the Speed of Senescence. In R. Shefferson, O. Jones, & R. Salguero-Gomez (Eds.), The Evolution of Senescence in the Tree of Life (pp. 403-421). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781139939867.020
Salguero-Gómez, Roberto ; Jones, Owen. / Life History Trade-Offs Modulate the Speed of Senescence. The Evolution of Senescence in the Tree of Life. editor / Richard Shefferson ; Owen Jones ; Roberto Salguero-Gomez. Cambridge, UK : Cambridge University Press, 2017. pp. 403-421
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Salguero-Gómez, R & Jones, O 2017, Life History Trade-Offs Modulate the Speed of Senescence. in R Shefferson, O Jones & R Salguero-Gomez (eds), The Evolution of Senescence in the Tree of Life. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 403-421. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781139939867.020

Life History Trade-Offs Modulate the Speed of Senescence. / Salguero-Gómez, Roberto; Jones, Owen.

The Evolution of Senescence in the Tree of Life. ed. / Richard Shefferson; Owen Jones; Roberto Salguero-Gomez. Cambridge, UK : Cambridge University Press, 2017. p. 403-421.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

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AB - The vast amount of scientific attention attracted by ageing research is, to a large extent, due to humanity’s desire to prolong life span and ‘health span’. Still, from a purely ecological and evolutionary point of view, the fact that such a large diversity of longevities exists is extremely puzzling and worthy of investigation in itself. We used two open-data repositories of high-quality demographic information for animals and plants to present a novel overview of the degree of variation in life-history strategies and their component life-history traits, including the speed of senescence, which we evaluate here as the time elapsed from mean age at maturity to the age at which 99 per cent of the individuals in an examined cohort are dead. We explored how life-history traits and strategies are associated with the speed of senescence across 571 species of animals and plants. We found that the speed of senescence varies dramatically across the Tree of Life and that it has a moderate phylogenetic signal when considering both plants and animals but that this signal is stronger in animals than in plants, indicating that the strength of selection on the trait may differ between kingdoms. We next examined how key life-history traits such as mean life expectancy, generation time and the length of life lived before maturity correlate with this measure of senescence, finding that iteroparous, slow-growing species are more likely to senesce slowly and thus attain long mature life spans. We further examined the speed of senescence at two taxonomic levels: comparing kingdoms, with plants more likely to postpone senescence than animals, and, when the data allowed for it, comparing taxonomic classes, where we found that pine trees are particularly slow to senesce, followed by reptiles and sponges. Most mammals, birds and the vast majority of fish in our analyses senesce rapidly.

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Salguero-Gómez R, Jones O. Life History Trade-Offs Modulate the Speed of Senescence. In Shefferson R, Jones O, Salguero-Gomez R, editors, The Evolution of Senescence in the Tree of Life. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 2017. p. 403-421 https://doi.org/10.1017/9781139939867.020