All Publications

  • Reproductive dispersion and damping time scale with life-history speed. Ecology letters Jiang, S., Jaggi, H., Zuo, W., Oli, M. K., Coulson, T., Gaillard, J. M., Tuljapurkar, S. 2022


    Iteroparous species may reproduce at many different ages, resulting in a reproductive dispersion that affects the damping of population perturbations, and varies among life histories. Since generation time ( T c $$ {T}_c $$ ) is known to capture aspects of life-history variation, such as life-history speed, does T c $$ {T}_c $$ also determine reproductive dispersion ( S $$ S $$ ) or damping time ( τ $$ \tau $$ )? Using phylogenetically corrected analyses on 633 species of animals and plants, we find, firstly, that reproductive dispersion S $$ S $$ scales isometrically with T c $$ {T}_c $$ . Secondly, and unexpectedly, we find that the damping time ( τ $$ \tau $$ ) does not scale isometrically with generation time, but instead changes only as T c b $$ {T}_c^b $$ with b < 1 $$ b<1 $$ (also, there is a similar scaling with S $$ S $$ ). This non-isometric scaling implies a novel demographic contrast: increasing generation times correspond to a proportional increase in reproductive dispersion, but only to a slower increase in the damping time. Thus, damping times are partly decoupled from the slow-fast continuum, and are determined by factors other than allometric constraints.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ele.14080

    View details for PubMedID 35925997

  • Advancing front of old-age human survival. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Zuo, W., Jiang, S., Guo, Z., Feldman, M. W., Tuljapurkar, S. 2018; 115 (44): 11209–14


    Old-age mortality decline has driven recent increases in lifespans, but there is no agreement about trends in the age pattern of old-age deaths. Some argue that old-age deaths should become compressed at advanced ages, others argue that old-age deaths should become more dispersed with age, and yet others argue that old-age deaths are consistent with little change in dispersion. However, direct analysis of old-age deaths presents unusual challenges: Death rates at the oldest ages are always noisy, published life tables must assume an asymptotic age pattern of deaths, and the definition of "old-age" changes as lives lengthen. Here we use robust percentile-based methods to overcome some of these challenges and show, for five decades in 20 developed countries, that old-age survival follows an advancing front, like a traveling wave. The front lies between the 25th and 90th percentiles of old-age deaths, advancing with nearly constant long-term shape but annual fluctuations in speed. The existence of this front leads to several predictions that we verify, e.g., that advances in life expectancy at age 65 y are highly correlated with the advance of the 25th percentile, but not with distances between higher percentiles. Our unexpected result has implications for biological hypotheses about human aging and for future mortality change.

    View details for PubMedID 30327342