Optimal growth strategies when mortality and production rates are size-dependent
Perrin, N., Sibly, R. M. and Nichols, N. (1993) Optimal growth strategies when mortality and production rates are size-dependent. Evolutionary Ecology, 7 (6). pp. 576-592. ISSN 0269-7653
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/BF01237822
Pontryagin's maximum principle from optimal control theory is used to find the optimal allocation of energy between growth and reproduction when lifespan may be finite and the trade-off between growth and reproduction is linear. Analyses of the optimal allocation problem to date have generally yielded bang-bang solutions, i.e. determinate growth: life-histories in which growth is followed by reproduction, with no intermediate phase of simultaneous reproduction and growth. Here we show that an intermediate strategy (indeterminate growth) can be selected for if the rates of production and mortality either both increase or both decrease with increasing body size, this arises as a singular solution to the problem. Our conclusion is that indeterminate growth is optimal in more cases than was previously realized. The relevance of our results to natural situations is discussed.