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Population regulation and density‐dependent demography in the Trinidadian guppy


Travis, Joseph et al. (2023), Population regulation and density‐dependent demography in the Trinidadian guppy, Dryad, Dataset,


Classic theory for density-dependent selection for delayed maturation requires that a population be regulated through some combination of adult fecundity and/or juvenile survival. We tested whether those demographic conditions were met in four experimental populations of Trinidadian guppies in which delayed maturation of males evolved when the densities of those populations became high. We used monthly mark-recapture data to examine population dynamics and demography in these populations. Three of the four populations displayed clear evidence of regulation. In all four populations, monthly adult survival rates were independent of biomass density or actually increased with increased biomass density. Juvenile recruitment, which is a combination of adult fecundity and juvenile survival, decreased as biomass density increased in all four populations. Demography showed marked seasonality, with greater survival and higher recruitment in the dry season than the wet season. Population regulation via juvenile recruitment supports the hypothesis that density-dependent selection was responsible for the evolution of delayed maturity in males. This body of work represents one of the few complete tests of density-dependent selection theory.


Data were collected via monthly censuses of four experimental guppy populations.  Censuses used mark-recapture methods in which each individual was given a unique mark.


National Science Foundation