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
"After reading this book, I now have greater confidence in my understanding of where this field stands and where future research would most profitably be directed. This book will unquestionably benefit students and professional scientists who are seeking either a basic introduction to sex allocation biology or a comprehensive sourcebook that integrates the major issues of the field. Additionally, this book would serve as an excellent resource for specialized graduate-level courses in evolutionary biology. Overall, this is an outstanding and comprehensive book that extends beyond the topic of sex allocation and is an essential tool for anyone with a serious interest in behavioral or evolutionary ecology."--Daniel A. Warner, Integrative and Comparative Biology
"[T]his book is worth taking the time to read and think about whether you are new to the field of sex allocation, think you know it all already, or are mainly interested in the evolution of other social and reproductive traits. It might influence the way you think about your own research and if nothing else you will learn some cool facts about the impressive subtleties of sex allocation in the natural world."--Suzanne H. Alonzo, Evolution
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