In order to produce viable young, organisms need to provide their offspring with energy. As that energy is divided among more and more offspring, the fitness of the individual offspring is reduced. In order to get the best return for their offspring investment, organisms can adjust their clutch/brood size, either by producing many small or a few large offspring. The clutch size where organisms can rear their young without significantly reducing their own or their offspring’s fitness and survival is referred to as the optimal clutch size. Choose an organism for which you wish to determine the optimal clutch size and then create a model in order to calculate what that clutch size will be.
- Optimization (Neuhauser, Claudia. Calculus for Biology and Medicine. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000. 195)