Life History Theory: Basics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There is a deep connection between population dynamics and life history, since populations are comprised of individuals. 'Population dynamics' refers to a time series of population size (and structure). 'Life history' refers to the timing of 'key events' across the life cycle of individuals. Population projection matrices can be decomposed into a sum of two matrices, one for single time-step fates of already existing individuals and another for single time-step production of new individuals. Matrices are clearly related to age-specific survivorship and fertility schedules of life tables, directly for age-structured populations and through Markov chain analysis for stage-structured populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Evolutionary Biology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780128004265
ISBN (Print)9780128000496
StatePublished - Apr 14 2016


  • Fertility schedule
  • Fundamental matrix
  • Generation time
  • Lefkovitch matrix
  • Leslie matrix
  • Life expectancy
  • Life history
  • Life table
  • Markov chain
  • Net reproductive rate
  • Population projection matrix
  • Structured populations
  • Survivorship schedule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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