The framework for eco-genetic modeling offers flexible tools for exploring the course and rates of multi-trait life-history evolution in natural populations.
This framework builds on existing modeling approaches by combining features that facilitate studying the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of realistically structured populations. In particular, the joint consideration of age and size structure enables the analysis of phenotypically plastic populations with more than a single growth trajectory, and ecological feedback is readily included in the form of density dependence and frequency dependence. Stochasticity and life-history trade-offs can also be implemented. Critically, eco-genetic models permit the incorporation of salient genetic detail such as a population’s genetic variances and covariances and the corresponding heritabilities, as well as the probabilistic inheritance and phenotypic expression of quantitative traits. These inclusions are crucial for predicting rates of evolutionary change on both contemporary and longer timescales. An eco-genetic model can be tightly coupled with empirical data and therefore may have considerable practical relevance, in terms of generating testable predictions and evaluating alternative management measures.
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