Mating, births, and transitions: a flexible two-sex matrix model for evolutionary demography. Academic Article uri icon


  • Models of sexually-reproducing populations that consider only a single sex cannot capture the effects of sex-specific demographic differences and mate availability. We present a new framework for two-sex demographic models that implements and extends the birth-matrix mating-rule approach of Pollak. The model is a continuous-time matrix model that explicitly includes the processes of mating (which is nonlinear but homogeneous), offspring production, and demographic transitions and survival. The resulting nonlinear model converges to exponential growth with an equilibrium population composition. The model can incorporate age- or stage-structured life histories and flexible mating functions. As an example, we apply the model to analyze the effects of mating strategies (polygamy or monogamy, and mated unions composed of males and females, of variable duration) on the response to sex-biased harvesting. The combination of demographic complexity with the interaction of the sexes can have major population dynamic effects and can change the outcome of evolution on sex-related characters.

publication date

  • 2018