We propose to develop a novel and far-reaching field program that is initially concerned with aging and life span of Mediterranean fruit flies (medflies) in field populations in Greece and will later expand to include nematode worms. This will be the first research program concerned with aging in the field to use a laboratory model system for which a massive amount of baseline demographic data is available. The methodological concept for the program involves development of a new method for assessing the demographic characteristics of field populations that we refer to as the 'captive cohort method' and which relies on the information content of live-captured flies; that the post-capture patterns of reproduction and death will provide information about the age at capture and previous experience in the field. The approach will involve: (i) building upon the experimental and statistical methods developed in the highly successful program on the biodemography of the medfly; (ii)developing new statistical tools that can be brought to bear on the life history data collected on wild-caught medflies; and (iii)gathering baseline biodemographic information on the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, that will be used subsequently for expanding the system to include this well-studied invertebrate. We plan to use the approach to test hypotheses concerning the nature of aging, life span, gender differences, and feeding status of field populations. Our studies will provide insights into aging in the Wild that are impossible to obtain using any of the standard approaches in ecology for analyzing field mortality and aging including the use of mark-recapture techniques, individual tracking (e.g. radio collars), techniques for estimating an animal's age, and field cages. All of these conventional techniques have serious limitations regarding their ability to detect nuances in mortality and aging and/or to estimate age in older individuals. The proposed methods and the new assay technique will have broad applications and will thus provide opportunities for research on systems that heretofore were not amenable to field research on aging, particularly for studying aging in invertebrate populations.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Program Projects (P01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Davis
United States
Zip Code
Blackwell, Aaron D; Urlacher, Samuel S; Beheim, Bret et al. (2017) Growth references for Tsimane forager-horticulturalists of the Bolivian Amazon. Am J Phys Anthropol 162:441-461
Ji, Hao; Müller, Hans-Georg; Papadopoulos, Nikos T et al. (2017) Quantifying functionals of age distributions in the wild by solving an operator equation. J Math Biol 75:973-984
Garcia-Robledo, Carlos; Horvitz, Carol C; Kress, W John et al. (2017) Experimental assemblage of novel plant-herbivore interactions: ecological host shifts after 40 million years of isolation. Biotropica 49:803-810
Gurven, Michael; Stieglitz, Jonathan; Trumble, Benjamin et al. (2017) The Tsimane Health and Life History Project: Integrating anthropology and biomedicine. Evol Anthropol 26:54-73
Carey, James R; Liedo, Pablo; Xu, Cong et al. (2016) Diet Shapes Mortality Response to Trauma in Old Tephritid Fruit Flies. PLoS One 11:e0158468
Krishna Kumar, Siddharth; Feldman, Marcus W; Rehkopf, David H et al. (2016) Limitations of GCTA as a solution to the missing heritability problem. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:E61-70
Blackwell, Aaron D; Trumble, Benjamin C; Maldonado Suarez, Ivan et al. (2016) Immune function in Amazonian horticulturalists. Ann Hum Biol 43:382-96
Gurven, Michael D; Trumble, Benjamin C; Stieglitz, Jonathan et al. (2016) High resting metabolic rate among Amazonian forager-horticulturalists experiencing high pathogen burden. Am J Phys Anthropol 161:414-425
Trumble, Benjamin C; Blackwell, Aaron D; Stieglitz, Jonathan et al. (2016) Associations between male testosterone and immune function in a pathogenically stressed forager-horticultural population. Am J Phys Anthropol 161:494-505
Blackwell, Aaron D; Tamayo, Marilyne A; Beheim, Bret et al. (2015) Helminth infection, fecundity, and age of first pregnancy in women. Science 350:970-2

Showing the most recent 10 out of 192 publications