Visit my homepage at: http://www.eeob.iastate.edu/faculty/BronikoA/homepage.html
Evolutionary and ecological studies of life-history variation focus on the causal agents of varying life-history traits, the subsequent variation in birth and death rates, and the sensitivity of fitness to alterations in these rates. Life history evolution has attracted much attention in recent years, particularly the evolution of senescence and the evolution of seemingly non-optimum variation in life histories (e.g., slow growth, late reproduction, low reproductive effort). I have addressed fundamental questions in life history evolution using field studies, laboratory experiments (physiological and molecular genetic), and mathematical/computational modeling in several natural systems (baboons, garter snakes, guppies, and bacteria). My current work and future research directions examine the evolution of life history variation with emphasis on senescence in both model- and natural systems. Two complementary approaches to understanding the evolution of senescence are (i) to manipulate model systems to identify the genetics and evolvability of senescence and (ii) to ask how and why senescence evolves in natural populations. My current research employs both approaches: I am working with a number of evolutionary biologists and gerontologists in developing semi-natural populations of a non-human primate as a model system for aging research. And I am continuing my work with life-history variation and senescent decline found in natural populations of garter snakes.