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Density dependence shapes life-history trade-offs in a food-limited population
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  • Harman Jaggi,
  • Wenyun Zuo,
  • Rosemarie Kentie,
  • Jean-Michel Gaillard,
  • Tim Coulson,
  • Shripad Tuljapurkar
Harman Jaggi
Stanford University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Wenyun Zuo
Stanford University
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Rosemarie Kentie
Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
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Jean-Michel Gaillard
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Tim Coulson
Oxford University
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Shripad Tuljapurkar
Stanford University
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Quantifying trade-offs within populations is important in life-history theory. However, most studies focusing on life-history trade-offs focus on two traits and assume trade-offs to be static. Our work provides a framework for understanding covariation among multiple traits and how population density influences the traits. Using detailed individual-based data for Soay sheep, we find density strongly shapes life-history trade-offs and distribution of lifetime reproductive success (LRS). At low density, a trade-off between juvenile survival and growth structures life-history variation whereas at equilibrium density (K), trade-off between reproduction and juvenile survival is the major structuring axes. Contrary to Lomnicki’s prediction, we find the distribution of LRS is highly constrained at K, with mothers of adult sizes contributing the most to reproduction. Our results offer insights into how high density limits diversity of individual life-histories, advance an understanding of dynamic nature of trade-offs and have implications for evolution via density-dependent selection.