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Natural Selection and the Parameters of Population Growth

Nelson G. Hairston, Donald W. Tinkle and Henry M. Wilbur
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 34, No. 4 (Oct., 1970), pp. 681-690
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3799132
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3799132
Page Count: 10
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Natural Selection and the Parameters of Population Growth
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Abstract

The intrinsic rate of natural increase, r, is a constant that measures the ability of a population to grow under a given set of conditions. The Malthusian parameter, m, is a measure of genotypic rate of increase. Although the mathematical formulations for r and m are the same, their biological characteristics are different except in isogenic populations. Selection will always favor genotypes with the highest m under a given set of conditions, but such selection may result in a reduction of r for that population. The mechanism by which this process occurs is discussed and simulated, and it is concluded that evolutionary reductions in r are most likely to have occurred under conditions of density dependence. It is also suggested that the recent terms r and K selection have mixed ecological parlance into evolutionary processes in a potentially confusing manner.

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