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Pinniped comparative survival data


Jamie, Brusa (2022), Pinniped comparative survival data, Dryad, Dataset,


Survival rates are a central component of life-history strategies of large vertebrate species.  However, comparative studies seldom investigate interspecific variation in survival rates with respect to other life-history traits, especially for males.  The lack of such studies could be due to the challenges associated with obtaining reliable datasets, incorporating information on the 0-1 probability scale, or dealing with several types of measurement error in life-history traits, which can be a computationally intensive process that is often absent in comparative studies.  We present a quantitative approach using Bayesian phylogenetically controlled regression with the flexibility to incorporate uncertainty in estimated survival rates and quantitative life-history traits while considering genetic similarity among species and uncertainty in relatedness.  As with any comparative analysis, our approach makes several assumptions regarding the generalizability and comparability of empirical data from separate studies.  Our model is versatile in that it can be applied to any species group of interest and include any life-history traits as covariates.  We used an unbiased simulation framework to provide “proof of concept” for our model and applied a slightly richer model to a real-data example for pinnipeds.  Pinnipeds are an excellent taxonomic group for comparative analysis, but survival rate data are scarce.  Our work elucidates the challenges associated with addressing important questions related to broader ecological life-history patterns and how survival-reproduction tradeoffs might shape evolutionary histories of extant taxa.  Specifically, we underscore the importance of having high-quality estimates of age-specific survival rates and information on other life-history traits that reasonably characterize a species for accurately comparing across species.


These data were collected from reviewing the male pinniped survival rate literature.  The dataset includes survival rate data for all pinniped species with reported age- or stage-specific survival rate data from live animals.  Table 1 of the associated manuscript details the references for each survival rate and covariate value and associated uncertainty.

Usage Notes

The dataset only includes species for which survival rate data were available for males at the age of social maturity.  There are a few covariates for some species that are missing.  See attached readme file for more details.


National Science Foundation, Award: 1640481: Division of Polar Programs