There is intrinsic conflict between survival and reproduction. This conflict can be viewed from the pace of life framework (an ultimate view), trading off many offspring per year over a short life vs. few per year over a longer life; it can also be viewed from a resource utilization perspective (a proximate view), increasing current reproductive effort vs. self maintenance. In general, outside of individual quality arguments, there is an inverse relationship between reproduction and survival. How is this conflict mediated within individuals? i.e., what proximate physiological mechanisms translate external and internal cues into the decision making process of reproductive effort?
We are interested in the role glucocorticoids play in mediating this proximate tradeoff, evaluating the role of GCs in both reproduction and survival, with a view to assess overall fitness effects.