McNair Scholars Research Journal


Pace-of-Life Syndrome (PoLS) hypothesizes that there is a correlation between life history, behavior, and physiology along an axis from slow to fast. Fast-paced species reach sexual maturity faster while also exhibiting faster growth rates, which, in turn, correspond to a higher rate of metabolism. Tarantulas are good model organisms for studying PoLS because species fit along the spectrum from very slow-growing species to species that mature, reproduce, and die within a relatively short time span. Our study will determine if the PoLS is supported in tarantulas. Specifically, we compared species with different lifespans and measured metabolic rates and growth rates. In addition, we examined the effect of food availability on these parameters. We hypothesized that slow-paced species would have lower metabolic rates than fast-paced species, and with high food availability, fast-paced species will have a faster growth trajectory. We predicted that fast-paced species would be more impacted by low food availability. Data collection is on-going, and analyses will continue over an 8-month period.