Age-specific reproductive trade-offs in female subtropical antechinuses (#208)
Determining how costs of reproduction vary with age is crucial to understanding life history evolution. Reduced survival or success in future breeding events are the main costs of current reproduction. Such costs are expected to increase with maternal age. Two main non mutually exclusive hypotheses might explain the variation in reproductive effort of individuals as they grow old: the terminal investment hypothesis and the senescence hypothesis. The former predicts that mothers should increase their investment when the chances of breeding again are reduced as they age, and the latter predicts a decrease in maternal reproductive effort due to physiological deterioration with age. In this study, I assessed age-specific trade-offs with reproduction in subtropical antechinus females. Older females increased their maternal investment. Mothers breeding for the second time (in their second year) were able to produce high quality, large offspring that were more likely to survive at the expense of their own survival.