In search of a Universal Trait-Trade-Off for life

The concept of trait trade-offs (TTO) forms a cornerstone of biology, aligned as it is with evolution of fitness. Classic examples include resources expenditure on growth vs defence, or hiding vs hunting. For plankton, TTOs have provided a rich inspiration for research, primarily aligned with size (allometric) scaling. Despite a massive effort directed to phytoplankton, allometric TTOs still do not explain ecophysiology. Part of this may be related to a failure to emphasise the eco in ecophysiology, part may be related to allometry not being as all-encompassing as often thought. While size is considered to be a master trait, growth itself is the master trait; growth defines life. This presentation will explore the Universal Trait-Trade-Off (UTTO) of the evolution of the maximum growth rate.


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