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Data from: Parental age effects and the evolution of senescence


Barks, Patrick; Laird, Robert (2019), Data from: Parental age effects and the evolution of senescence, Dryad, Dataset,


Most theory on the evolution of senescence implicitly assumes that all offspring are of equal quality. However, in addition to age-related declines in survival and fecundity (classically-defined senescence), many organisms exhibit age-related declines in offspring quality, a phenomenon known as a parental age effect. Theoretical work suggests that parental age effects may alter age-trajectories of selection and therefore shape the evolution of senescence; however, to date, these analyses have been limited to idealized life cycles, and models of maternal care in human populations. To gain a broader understanding of how parental age effects may shape age-trajectories of selection, we extend the classic age-structured population projection model to also account for parental age structure, and apply this model to empirical data from an aquatic plant known to exhibit parental age effects (the duckweed Lemna minor), as well as a diverse set of simulated life cycles. Our results suggest that parental age effects alter predictions from classic theory on the evolution of senescence. Age-related declines in offspring quality reduce the relative value of late-life reproduction, leading to steeper age-related declines in the force of natural selection than would otherwise be expected, and potentially favoring the evolution of more rapid rates of senescence.