m.r.Life ι**=7/3ψ

Mass and quality-quantity trade-off

The quality-quantity trade-off selects for the absence of biological mass

The net energy that is available for self-replication generates a quality-quantity trade-off where a parent can produce many small or a few large offspring. And with fitness being given by the exponential increase in numbers on a per generation timescale, r = ln λ ∝ ln [p ε τ / w], this generates a physiological background selection for the absence of mass, with the partial selection gradient on mass on logarithmic scale being minus one

∂ r / ∂ ln w = - 1

[λ:per generation multiplication factor; p:probability to survive to reproduce; τ:reproductive period; w:body mass].

The natural selection of organisms with anything but an absolute minimum mass is therefore, in one way or the other, dependent upon mechanisms that will make the intra-specific dependence of net energy on mass increase stronger than linearly with mass.

Download publications

Ecology and Evolution 7:9098-9118 (2017)Download

The natural selection of metabolism and mass selects lifeforms from viruses to multicellular animals

Journal of Theoretical Biology 225:389-406 (2003)Download

Major life-history transitions by deterministic directional natural selection

Peregrine Publisher, Aarhus (1997)Download

A general theory of evolution. By means of selection by density dependent competitive interactions.