Balancing growth, reproduction, maintenance, and activity in evolved energy economies.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)

Economic models predominate in life history research, which investigates the allocation of an organism's resources to growth, reproduction, and maintenance. These approaches typically employ a heuristic Y model of resource allocation, which predicts trade-offs among tasks within a fixed budget. The common currency among tasks is not always specified, but most models imply that metabolic energy, either from food or body stores, is the critical resource. Here, we review the evidence for metabolic energy as the common currency of growth, reproduction, and maintenance, focusing on studies in humans and other vertebrates. We then discuss the flow of energy to competing physiological tasks (physical activity, maintenance, and reproduction or growth) and its effect on life history traits. We propose a Ψ model of energy flow to these tasks, which provides an integrative framework for examining the influence of environmental factors and the expansion and contraction of energy budgets in the evolution of life history strategies.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pontzer, H; McGrosky, A

Published Date

  • June 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 32 / 12

Start / End Page

  • R709 - R719

PubMed ID

  • 35728556

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-0445

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0960-9822

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.cub.2022.05.018


  • eng