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Tactics, Strategies and Templets

T. R. E. Southwood
Oikos
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Mar., 1988), pp. 3-18
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3565974
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3565974
Page Count: 16
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Tactics, Strategies and Templets
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Abstract

The paper reviews current concepts that relate particular life-history strategies to habitat characteristics. The strategy selection system is described: through effects on the fitness of individual organisms in ecological time certain combinations of adaptations for survival and reproduction are selected. These combinations arise through trade-offs between different tactics. The author's hypothesis that the habitat provides the templet on which evolution forges characteristic life-history strategies is further explored and related to similar concepts proposed by others. It is shown that in general these formulations define habitat along two axes: one being the frequency of disturbances and the other the general level adversity or harshness. When these axes and the orientation of the figures are made to correspond, the predictions from the different approaches have many similarities. Although the habitat may be defined in terms of two abiotic axes, the scaling of these in time and space must be appropriate to the temporal (e.g. generation time) and spatial (e.g. trivial range) scales of the organism being considered. It is pointed out that the pattern of trade-offs will be constrained by the available genetic variability (a reflection of the organism's phylogenetic history) and there may be more than one stable strategy for a particular environment. The templet constrains the range of life-history strategies, but it does not impose uniformity. The extent of variation may correspond to the dichotomy between high risk and low risk strategies recently explored by Ellner.

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