Master of Science
Dr. Geoff Wild
The division of resources between male and female reproductive function is defined as sex allocation. The usefulness of simple rules to predict adaptive sex-allocation decisions has been a contentious topic. Simple rules are difficult to apply when the biological details of the life cycle are complex, as is the case in many vertebrates. We build a mathematical-computational model to investigate the usefulness of a simple rule that predicts adaptive sex-allocation decisions. We find that the simple rule is a better predictor of adaptive sex-allocation decisions when more features of an organism's life cycle are assumed to evolve. Even though the simple rule is a useful heuristic for predicting adaptive sex-allocation decisions, we find that its usefulness depends critically on the presence or absence of certain sex-specific asymmetries in the life cycle. We find that magnifying the asymmetries captured by the simple rule improves the usefulness of the simple rule.
Dunn, Joshua D., "A model-based test of the efficacy of a simple rule for predicting adaptive sex allocation" (2016). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 4143.