A persistent question in the evolution of life histories is the fitness trade-off between reproducing only once (semelparity) in a lifetime or reproducing repeated times in different seasons (iteroparity). The problem can be formulated into a research agenda by assuming that one reproductive strategy is resident (has already evolved) and by asking whether invasion (evolution) of an alternative reproductive strategy is possible. For a spatially nonstructured system, Bulmer (1994) derived the relationship v PA < 1 (PA is adult survival; vbS and bS are offspring numbers for iteroparous and semelparous breeding strategies, respectively) at which semelparous population cannot be invaded by an iteroparous mutant. When the inequality is changed to v PA > 1, invasion of a semelparous mutant is not possible. From the inequalities, it is easy to see that possibilities for evolutionary establishment of a novel reproductive strategy are rather narrow. We extended the evolutionary scenario into a spatially structured system with dispersal linkage among the subunits. In this domain, a rare reproductive strategy can easily invade a population dominated by a resident reproductive strategy. The parameter space enabling invasion is far more generous with spatially structured evolutionary scenarios than in a spatially nonstructured system.
Corresponding Editor: D. Roff