Volume 19 - Article 44 | Pages 1587–1602

Top-down and bottom-up research in biodemography

By Hillard Kaplan, Michael Gurven

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Date received:15 May 2007
Date published:09 Sep 2008
Word count:4384
Keywords:aging, biodemography, evolution, life history


The most efficient way to make scientific progress in biodemography is to encourage bi-directional exchange between ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ research. This will entail exchange along the continuum of research from microscopic intracellular processes to population-level consequences. In addition, our understanding of the biology of aging and its demographic consequences will be enriched by mutual influence between studies of mechanistic or ‘proximate’ causal processes and investigations of the evolutionary processes underlying the same phenomena. Researchers working at these different levels of explanation could be more productive if they were informed by research at other levels and interacted with scientists with complementary expertise. Such collaborations could be encouraged both through interdisciplinary workshops, research projects, program projects and training programs.

Author's Affiliation

Hillard Kaplan - University of New Mexico, United States of America [Email]
Michael Gurven - University of California, Santa Barbara, United States of America [Email]

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