Evolutionary Ecology of Parental Investment and Larval Diversity

Dustin Marshall, Justin McAlister, Adam Reitzel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Marine larvae vary enormously in the amount of care (be it in the form of energy or other costly caregiving that increases offspring fitness) they receive from their parents. In contrast to terrestrial taxa, parental investment is less coupled to phylogeny in marine taxa, such that closely related species may have wildly different parental investment strategies. Such diversity demands explanation, and marine biologists have been fascinated by variation in parental investment for over 100 years. In this chapter, we review patterns in parental investment in space, review the theory of parental investment in life history theory, explore the key assumptions of life history theory as it pertains to parental investment, and then examine the evolutionary causes and ecological consequences of variation in parental investment for marine organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvolutionary Ecology of Marine Invertebrate Larvae
EditorsTyler J Carrier, Adam M Reitzel, Andreas Heyland
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press, USA
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780198786962
ISBN (Print)9780198786979
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Egg size
  • Life history theory
  • Maternal effect
  • Parental investment
  • Transgenerational plasticity

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