The great variety of living things, linked by an underlying phylogenetic tree of life, is a source of fascination to most biologists and the public alike. Demographic variation is just as diverse as anatomical and behavioural variation: Some species are exceptionally long-lived, while others have fleeting lives; Some species reproduce rapidly while others more slowly; some species reproduce just once before death while others do so repeatedly; some species (like us humans) senesce while others such as Hydra appear to be functionally immortal. At CPop we focus on understanding the patterns, causes, and consequences of demographic variation in traits such as life expectancy and the trajectories of mortality and fertility.
For example, we have highlighted that senescence (an age-specific decline in survival or fertility) is not an inevitable “fact of life” and that patterns of senescence show huge amounts of variation with many species managing to escape senescence or even improve with age (Jones et al 2014; Baudisch et al 2013; Jones & Vaupel 2017; Dahlgren et al 2016).
The evolution of longevity has also been an abiding interest (Colchero et al. 2016).
We will continue to explore this fascinating area of life history evolution.