Recent decades have witnessed an explosion of theoretical and empirical studies of sex allocation, transforming how we understand the allocation of resources to male and female reproduction in vertebrates, invertebrates, protozoa, and plants. In this landmark book, Stuart West synthesizes the vast literature on sex allocation, providing the conceptual framework the field has been lacking and demonstrating how sex-allocation studies can shed light on broader questions in evolutionary and behavioral biology.
West clarifies fundamental misconceptions in the application of theory to empirical data. He examines the field's successes and failures, and describes the research areas where much important work is yet to be done. West reveals how a shared underlying theoretical framework unites findings of sex-ratio variation across a huge range of life forms, from malarial parasites and hermaphroditic worms to sex-changing fish and mammals. He shows how research on sex allocation has been central to many critical questions and controversies in evolutionary and behavioral biology, and he argues that sex-allocation research serves as a key testing ground for different theoretical approaches and can help resolve debates about social evolution, parent-offspring conflict, genomic conflict, and levels of selection.
Certain to become the defining book on the subject for the next generation of researchers, Sex Allocation explains why the study of sex allocation provides an ideal model system for advancing our understanding of the constraints on adaptation among all living things in the natural world.
"Understanding mating strategies and the allocation of resources to male versus female reproduction has long been a major goal of evolutionary studies. In this comprehensive synthesis, West makes several important contributions to the field of evolutionary biology. . . . Because the work primarily focuses on how natural selection shapes sex allocation for given sex determination systems, sex allocation is proven an important phenomenon for studying adaptation. This thorough conceptual perspective, blending theory and data, summarizes sex allocation theory and how different areas are applied to different organisms."--Choice
"West has great command of a vast body of theory and empirical work, but this book does more than synthesize existing literature. West explains what has been accomplished, where the field has failed to clear things up, and what needs to be done. Anyone working on sex allocation can start with this book and get a firm grasp of the concepts, experiments, comparative observations, and key outstanding questions."--Steven A. Frank, University of California, Irvine
"This is a great book. It captures the excitement of sex-allocation research, the significant progress that has been made, and the areas that have been relatively neglected. West does a great job of showing the tight connection between evolutionary theory and empirical testing, and the ways both can mutually inspire each other. He deals with all the major issues and guides the reader through the entire field."--Jacobus J. Boomsma, University of Copenhagen
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