We focus on the causes and consequences of individual variation in life histories and the underlying mechanisms as schematically summarized in the figure below, with an emphasis on senescence. Study organisms are birds, mostly captive zebra finches and free-living jackdaws, that we both study in the context of long-term experiments. The ‘state’ concept is central in our work, and in theory comprises every possible trait, but we concentrate on traits that are of functional importance in the sense that they predict variation in life history decisions or (components of) fitness (e.g. telomeres).


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