Fernando Colchero

Fernando Colchero
University of Southern Denmark | SDU · Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

PhD

About

64
Publications
27,390
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Introduction
I work on mathematical and statistical demography and on modelling stochastic population dynamics. I am interested on understanding what drives the age-patterns of survival and fecundity and wild and captive populations of vertebrates, and how these determine population dynamics in stochastic environments.
Additional affiliations
March 2016 - present
University of Southern Denmark
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
March 2016 - present
University of Southern Denmark
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 2013 - February 2016
University of Southern Denmark
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (64)
Article
Is senescence inevitable and universal for all living organisms, as evolutionary theories predict? Although evidence generally supports this hypothesis, it has been proposed that certain species, such as turtles and tortoises, may exhibit slow or even negligible senescence—i.e., avoiding the increasing risk of death from gradual deterioration with...
Article
Full-text available
It is well known that survival and the dynamics of wild populations are affected by environmental factors. Recent research has found that, among some species of mammal, differences in environmental conditions between populations of the same species translate into changes in infant and juvenile mortality, but not in the rate of senescence (‘rate of...
Article
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This Article has been retracted; the Retraction Note is available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-00061-8.
Article
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Cancer is a ubiquitous disease of metazoans, predicted to disproportionately affect larger, long-lived organisms owing to their greater number of cell divisions, and thus increased probability of somatic mutations1,2. While elevated cancer risk with larger body size and/or longevity has been documented within species3,4,5, Peto’s paradox indicates...
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The current COVID-19 pandemic has created unmeasurable damages to society at a global level, from the irreplaceable loss of life, to the massive economic losses. In addition, the disease threatens further biodiversity loss. Due to their shared physiology with humans, primates, and particularly great apes, are susceptible to the disease. However, it...
Chapter
Survival analyses are a key tool for demographers, ecologists, and evolutionary biologists. This chapter presents the most common methods and illustrates their use for species across the Tree of Life. It discusses the challenges associated with various types of survival data, how to model species with a complex life cycle, and includes the impact o...
Article
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Is it possible to slow the rate of ageing, or do biological constraints limit its plasticity? We test the ‘invariant rate of ageing’ hypothesis, which posits that the rate of ageing is relatively fixed within species, with a collection of 39 human and nonhuman primate datasets across seven genera. We first recapitulate, in nonhuman primates, the hi...
Data
Supplementary tables for: Social groups buffer maternal loss in mountain gorillas
Article
Theoretical and empirical research has shown that increased variability in demographic rates often results in a decline in the population growth rate. In order to reduce the adverse effects of increased variability, life‐history theory predicts that demographic rates that contribute disproportionately to population growth should be buffered against...
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Mothers are crucial for mammals’ survival before nutritional independence, but many social mammals reside with their mothers long after. In these species the social adversity caused by maternal loss later in life can dramatically reduce fitness. However, in some human populations these negative consequences can be overcome by care from other group...
Preprint
Full-text available
Is it possible to slow the rate of aging, or do biological constraints limit its plasticity? We test this ‘invariant rate of aging’ hypothesis with an unprecedented collection of 39 human and nonhuman primate datasets across seven genera. We first recapitulate, in nonhuman primates, the highly regular relationship between life expectancy and lifesp...
Article
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People who are more socially integrated or have higher socio-economic status live longer. Recent studies in non-human primates show striking convergences with this human pattern: female primates with more social partners, stronger social bonds or higher dominance rank all lead longer lives. However, it remains unclear whether social environments al...
Preprint
Mothers are crucial for mammals' survival before nutritional independence, but many social mammals reside with their mothers long after. In these species the social adversity caused by maternal loss later in life can dramatically reduce fitness. However, in some human populations these negative consequences appear to be overcome by care from other...
Article
Across vertebrates, species with intense male mating competition and high levels of sexual dimorphism in body size generally exhibit dimorphism in age-specific fertility. Compared with females, males show later ages at first reproduction and earlier reproductive senescence because they take longer to attain adult body size and musculature, and main...
Article
In human populations, women consistently outlive men, which suggests profound biological foundations for sex differences in survival. Quantifying whether such sex differences are also pervasive in wild mammals is a crucial challenge in both evolutionary biology and biogerontology. Here, we compile demographic data from 134 mammal populations, encom...
Article
Today, we know that demographic rates can be greatly influenced by differences among individuals in their capacity to survive and reproduce. These intrinsic differences, commonly known as individual heterogeneity, can rarely be measured and are thus treated as latent variables when modeling mortality. Finite mixture models and mixed effects models...
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity loss is a major challenge. Over the past century, the average rate of vertebrate extinction has been about 100-fold higher than the estimated background rate and population declines continue to increase globally. Birth and death rates determine the pace of population increase or decline, thus driving the expansion or extinction of a sp...
Article
Generation time is a fundamental component of extinction risk assessments for the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. The calculation of generation time requires age‐specific data on survival and fecundity rates and knowledge of population growth rates. These data are generally lacking for threatened spe...
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The current extinction and climate change crises pressure us to predict population dynamics with ever-greater accuracy. Although predictions rest on the well-advanced theory of age-structured populations, two key issues remain poorly explored. Specifically, how the age-dependency in demographic rates and the year-to-year interactions between surviv...
Article
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The current extinction and climate change crises pressure us to predict population dynamics with ever‐greater accuracy. Although predictions rest on the well‐advanced theory of age‐structured populations, two key issues remain poorly explored. Specifically, how the age‐dependency in demographic rates and the year‐to‐year interactions between surviv...
Article
Sex differences in mortality are pervasive in vertebrates, and usually result in shorter life spans in the larger sex, although the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. On the other hand, differences in frailty among individuals (i.e. individual heterogeneity), can play a major role in shaping demographic trajectories in wild populations. The l...
Article
In a monogamous species two partners contribute to the breeding process.We study pair formation as well as the effect of pair bond length and age on breeding performance, incorporating individual heterogeneity, based on a high-quality dataset of a long-lived seabird, the common tern (Sterna hirundo). To handle missing information and model the comp...
Article
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The human lifespan has traversed a long evolutionary and historical path, from short-lived primate ancestors to contemporary Japan, Sweden, and other longevity frontrunners. Analyzing this trajectory is crucial for understanding biological and sociocultural processes that determine the span of life. Here we reveal a fundamental regularity. Two stra...
Article
The dominant evolutionary theory of actuarial senescence—an increase in death rate with advancing age—is based on the concept of a germ cell line that is separated fromthe somatic cells early in life. However, such a separation is not clear in all organisms. This has been suggested to explain the paucity of evidence for actuarial senescence in plan...
Data
Figure S1–S3. Traces of mortality and dispersal parameter estimation for Models A to C. Figure S4. Predicted mortality functions for males (blue polygons) and females (pink polygons) compared to the mortality functions used to simulate the data (solid lines), if the probability of immigration into the study area of males born outside of it was low...
Article
Full-text available
Estimates of age-specific mortality are regularly used in ecology, evolution, and conservation research. However, estimating mortality of the dispersing sex, in species where one sex undergoes natal dispersal, is difficult. This is because it is often unclear whether members of the dispersing sex that disappear from monitored areas have died or dis...
Article
Figure S1: Plots of the Kaplan-Meier estimators of the survivorship curves. Figure S2: Mortality and survivorship over age since first reproduction, and parameter values, of the second-best fitting mortality model (logistic including reproductive investment and no Makeham term). Figure S3: Mortality, survivorship and parameter values of the best-fi...
Article
Figure S1: Plots of the Kaplan-Meier estimators of the survivorship curves. Figure S2: Mortality and survivorship over age since first reproduction, and parameter values, of the second-best fitting mortality model (logistic including reproductive investment and no Makeham term). Figure S3: Mortality, survivorship and parameter values of the best-fi...
Preprint
Full-text available
1. Estimates of age-specific mortality are regularly used in ecology, evolution, and conservation research. However, existing methods to estimate mortality from re-sighting records of marked individuals fail at estimating mortality of males for species with male natal dispersal due to the uncertainty surrounding disappearances of adult males from s...
Article
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Understanding the relative effects of climate, harvest, and density dependence on population dynamics is critical for guiding sound population management, especially for ungulates in arid and semiarid environments experiencing climate change. To address these issues for bison in southern Utah, USA, we applied a Bayesian state-space model to a 72-yr...
Article
In polygynous primates, a greater reproductive variance in males have been linked to their reduced life expectancy relative to females. The mortality patterns of monogamous pair-bonded primates, however, are less clear. We analyzed the sex differences in mortality within wild (NMales = 70, NFemales = 73) and captive (NMales = 25, NFemales = 29) pop...
Article
Full-text available
Despite an increase in policy and management responses to the global biodiversity crisis, implementation of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets still shows insufficient progress [1]. These targets, strategic goals defined by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), address major causes of biodiversity loss in part by establishing...
Chapter
Jaguars are one of the most elusive large carnivores on earth, and gathering information on their demography and behaviour is extremely challenging. This chapter provides a case study on habitat preferences and the impact of roads on the ecology of Jaguars. Recent studies in the Mayan Forest of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala have shed some light on t...
Article
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Mortality in organisms that grow indefinitely, known as indeterminate growers, is thought to be driven primarily by size. However, a number of ageing mechanisms also act as functions of age. Thus, to explain mortality in these species, both size and age need to be explicitly modelled. Here we developed a model that treats age- and size-specific mor...
Article
Understanding the mechanisms that drive population dynamics is fundamental for management of wild populations. The guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is one of two wild camelid species in South America. We evaluated the effects of density dependence and weather variables on population regulation based on a time series of 36 years of population sampling of gua...
Article
Full-text available
Summary Schedules of survival, growth and reproduction are key life-history traits. Data on how these traits vary among species and populations are fundamental to our understanding of the ecological conditions that have shaped plant evolution. Because these demographic schedules determine population growth or decline, such data help us understand h...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
“To say that humanity has been slow to explore the home planet is an understatement” (E.O. Wilson). Fortunately, the last decade has witnessed the emergence of worldwide databases (e.g. GenBank, TRY, BIEN, D3) that allow us to tackle broad ecological questions. We introduce the COMPADRE Plant Matrix Database, which contains demographic, biogeograph...
Article
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Given current extinction trends, the number of species requiring conservation breeding programs (CBPs) is likely to increase dramatically. To inform CBP policies for threatened terrestrial vertebrates, we evaluated the number and representation of threatened vertebrate species on the IUCN Red List held in the ISIS zoo network and estimated the comp...
Article
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Diet effects on age-dependent mortality patterns are well documented in a large number of animal species, but studies that look at the effects of nutrient availability on late-life mortality plateaus are lacking. Here, we focus on the effect of dietary protein content (low, intermediate, and high) on mortality trajectories in late life in the fruit...
Article
Most animals need to actively search for food to meet energetic requirements and live in heterogeneous environments where food resources have complex spatio-temporal patterns of availability. Consequently, foraging animals need to find a balance between effort and resource allocation while accounting for intrinsic and extrinsic factors, which are o...
Article
Full-text available
Demographic senescence, the decay in fertility and increase in the risk of mortality with age, is one of the most striking phenomena in ecology and evolution. Comparative studies of senescence patterns of plants are scarce, and consequently, little is known about senescence and its determinants in the plant kingdom.Senescence patterns of mortality...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Marginal populations are often characterized by a reduction of genetic diversity and thus reduced population viability and evolutionary potential compared to their habitat of origin. Limits of colonization potential can be influenced by the individual’s demographic response to environmental variation. Therefore the que...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Demographic senescence, the decay in fertility and survival rates with age, remains one of the most striking phenomena in ecology and evolution. Evolutionary theories of senescence make stringent predictions about the shape of these patterns. Resting on Hamilton’s influential results, fertility and survival rates acros...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Senescence, a decline in survival probability or reproductive success with age, is a common feature of the life history of both animals and plants. Understanding senescence trajectories is important to conservation biology, biological demography and evolution. To understand senescence it is first necessary to describe...
Article
1. Understanding age-specific survival in wild animal populations is crucial to the study of population dynamics and is therefore an essential component of several fields including evolution, management and conservation. 2. We present Bayesian survival trajectory analysis (BaSTA), a free open-source software package for estimating age-specific surv...
Article
Full-text available
The parthenogens of Chara canescens (Charophyceae) occupy broader geographical and ecological ranges than their sexual counterparts. Two possible hypotheses explain the ubiquity of parthenogens: the occurrence of one or several parthenogens with wide niches, or of many parthenogens that are restricted to narrow ecological niches. For the purposes o...
Article
Full-text available
1. Traditional estimation of age-specific survival and mortality rates in vertebrates is limited to individuals with known age. Although this subject has been studied extensively using effective capture–recapture and capture–recovery models, inference remains challenging because of large numbers of incomplete records (i.e. unknown age of many indiv...
Article
Full-text available
Roughly one in seven threatened terrestrial vertebrate species are held in captivity, a resource for ex situ conservation efforts.
Book
Full-text available
Labrado en piedra y tiempo, hay un jaguar en nuestra memoria. En la historia de Mesoamérica resuena el profundo rugir de los jaguares, el esquivo sol de la noche que lleva dibujadas en su piel, todas las constelaciones y todas las estrellas. Jaguares que fueron dioses y me-táfora de dioses, vínculo entre los hombres y la Tierra. El jaguar es indica...
Preprint
Full-text available
This publication was part. of a collaboration with Jaguar Conservancy NGO. It was probably the first project proposing contrite actions to maintain the connectivity of Jaguay population in the Biosphere Reserve of Calakmul in Yucatan Peninsula. The recommendations stated in this document have a great relevance in the context of Road Ecology and the...
Article
Road-induced habitat fragmentation is one of the greatest threats to large carnivores. Wildlife passes have been used to reduce fragmentation by mitigating the effects of roads as barriers to animal movement. However, direct observations of animals crossing roads are extremely rare and thus indirect methods are necessary to locate crossings. Yet, c...
Article
Full-text available
a b s t r a c t Competition for mates, cub rearing, and other behaviors differ between males and females in large car-nivores. Although these differences can be reflected in patterns of habitat use, gender has rarely been incorporated into habitat models. We evaluated differences in habitat use between male and female jag-uars in the Mayan Forest o...
Article
Full-text available
Although egg predation from aerial predators is one of the most important threats to ground-nesting seabirds, few populations conceal their nests under vegetation. However, little is known about the relationships between nesting habitat characteristics, nest densities and egg predation. Dry Tortugas (DRTO) Sooty Terns (Ony-choprion fuscata) nest on...
Article
Full-text available
1. Our understanding of the interplay between density dependence, climatic perturbations, and conservation practices on the dynamics of small populations is still limited. This can result in uninformed strategies that put endangered populations at risk. Moreover, the data available for a large number of populations in such circumstances are sparse...
Article
Animal movement has been the focus on much theoretical and empirical work in ecology over the last 25 years. By studying the causes and consequences of individual movement, ecologists have gained greater insight into the behavior of individuals and the spatial dynamics of populations at increasingly higher levels of organization. In particular, eco...
Article
Dissertation Under the increasing threat of climate change, it is imperative to understand the impact that environmental phenomena have on the demography and behavior of natural populations. In the last few decades an ever increasing body of research has documented dramatic changes in mortality rates and breeding phenology for a large number of sp...

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Project (1)
Project
To develop an index that measures the machine-readable information available for every described species on the fields of: 1. Demography (fertility and survival), 2. Genetics (number of molecular markers and if the genome is published) 3. Primary Biodiversity Data 4. Morphology 5. Threats and conservation planning Milestones: We just developed the Demographic Index of Species Knowledge for Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians.