Browsing by Subject "MATE CHOICE"

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  • Peris Tamayo, Ana-Maria; Devineau, Olivier; Praebel, Kim; Kahilainen, Kimmo K.; ostbye, Kjartan (2020)
    Adaptive radiation is the diversification of species to different ecological niches and has repeatedly occurred in different salmonid fish of postglacial lakes. In Lake Tinnsjoen, one of the largest and deepest lakes in Norway, the salmonid fish, Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus(L.)), has likely radiated within 9,700 years after deglaciation into ecologically and genetically segregated Piscivore, Planktivore, Dwarf, and Abyssal morphs in the pelagial, littoral, shallow-moderate profundal, and deep-profundal habitats. We compared trait variation in the size of the head, the eye and olfactory organs, as well as the volumes of five brain regions of these four Arctic charr morphs. We hypothesised that specific habitat characteristics have promoted divergent body, head, and brain sizes related to utilized depth differing in environmental constraints (e.g., light, oxygen, pressure, temperature, and food quality). The most important ecomorphological variables differentiating morphs were eye area, habitat, and number of lamellae. The Abyssal morph living in the deepest areas of the lake had the smallest brain region volumes, head, and eye size. Comparing the olfactory bulb with the optic tectum in size, it was larger in the Abyssal morph than in the Piscivore morph. The Piscivore and Planktivore morphs that use more illuminated habitats have the largest optic tectum volume, followed by the Dwarf. The observed differences in body size and sensory capacities in terms of vision and olfaction in shallow and deepwater morphs likely relates to foraging and mating habitats in Lake Tinnsjoen. Further seasonal and experimental studies of brain volume in polymorphic species are needed to test the role of plasticity and adaptive evolution behind the observed differences.
  • Hopkins, Juhani; Lehtonen, Topi K.; Baudry, Gautier; Kaitala, Arja (2021)
    How fecundity might be traded off with mate attraction and other aspects of reproduction in females remains poorly understood. We investigated these allocation trade-offs using the common glowworm (Lampyris noctiluca), a lampyrid beetle, in which flightless, sedentary females only use resources gathered during the larval stage to attract flying males by glowing. While sexual signaling was not found to have a significant fecundity cost, a delay in successfully attracting a mate greatly increased the risk of reproductive failure, with fecundity losses being more severe in small females. These findings are among the first to show that failure to quickly attract a mate can decrease female fecundity. The results also show how the length of delay before mating can drive the evolution of female sexual ornamentation.
  • Teerikorpi, Pauliina Elisabet; Sirkiä, Paivi Maria; Laaksonen, Toni (2018)
    Environmental shifts may induce sudden reversals in the relative quality or sexual attractiveness of mates (ecological crossovers) leading to non-directional sexual selection. Studies on such ecological crossovers induced by environmental shifts during the nonbreeding season are particularly rare. We studied the interactive effects between nonbreeding conditions and a male white wing patch on the breeding success of breeding pairs and the local survival of females in a migratory passerine population over a 32-year period. After dry winters, females paired with large-patched males were more likely to survive than those paired with small-patched males, and vice versa after moist winters. Moreover, after dry winters, large-patched males succeeded in attracting females that laid large clutches, while small-patched males bred with females that laid small clutches, and vice versa after moist winters. This phenomenon led to a difference in fledgling numbers only during years with dry winters and high precipitation during the breeding season. The selection on this male trait and its signaling value to females thus depended on a complex interaction between conditions both at the nonbreeding and breeding grounds. We show that it is important to consider conditions during the nonbreeding season when examining the effects of sexual ornaments on fitness.
  • Priklopil, Tadeas; Kisdi, Eva; Gyllenberg, Mats (2015)
    We consider mating strategies for females who search for males sequentially during a season of limited length. We show that the best strategy rejects a given male type if encountered before a time-threshold but accepts him after. For frequency-independent benefits, we obtain the optimal time-thresholds explicitly for both discrete and continuous distributions of males, and allow for mistakes being made in assessing the correct male type. When the benefits are indirect (genes for the offspring) and the population is under frequency-dependent ecological selection, the benefits depend on the mating strategy of other females as well. This case is particularly relevant to speciation models that seek to explore the stability of reproductive isolation by assortative mating under frequency-dependent ecological selection. We show that the indirect benefits are to be quantified by the reproductive values of couples, and describe how the evolutionarily stable time-thresholds can be found. We conclude with an example based on the Levene model, in which we analyze the evolutionarily stable assortative mating strategies and the strength of reproductive isolation provided by them.
  • Heubel, Katja (2018)
    Mating decisions can be affected by intrasexual competition and sensitive to operational sex-ratio (OSR) changes in the population. Conceptually, it is assumed that both male and female mate-competition may interfere with female reproductive decisions. Experimentally, however, the focus has been on the effect of male competition on mate choice. In many species with paternal care as in the common goby Pomatoschistus microps, the OSR is often female-biased and female mate-competition for access to available nesting males occurs. Using the same protocol for 3 experiments testing the effect of a perceived risk of female mate-competition, I studied female preferences for nest-holding males differing in its nest size (large/small), body size (large/small), and nest status (with/without eggs already in nest) and measured mating decisions, spawning latencies, and clutch size. Regardless of the social context, females preferred males with larger nests. A preference for large males was only expressed in presence of additional females. For nest status, there was a tendency for females to prefer mating with males with an empty nest. Here, female-female competition increased the propensity to mate. The results of this study show that females are sensitive to a female competitive social environment and suggest that in choice situations, females respond to the social context mainly by mating decisions per se rather than by adjusting the clutch size or spawning latency. Females base their mating decisions not only on a male's nest size but also on male size as an additional cue of mate quality in the presence of additional females.
  • Marcinkowska, Urszula M.; Terraube, Julien; Kaminski, Gwenael (2016)
    Faces are an important cue to multiple physiological and psychological traits. Human preferences for exaggerated sex typicality (masculinity or femininity) in faces depend on multiple factors and show high inter-subject variability. To gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying facial femininity preferences in men, we tested the interactive effect of family structure (birth order, sibling sex-ratio and number of siblings) and parenthood status on these preferences. Based on a group of 1304 heterosexual men, we have found that preference for feminine faces was not only influenced by sibling age and sex, but also that fatherhood modulated this preference. Men with sisters had a weaker preference for femininity than men with brothers, highlighting a possible effect of a negative imprinting-like mechanism. What is more, fatherhood increased strongly the preference for facial femininity. Finally, for fathers with younger sisters only, the more the age difference increased between them, the more femininity preference increased. Overall our findings bring new insight into how early-acquired experience at the individual level may determine face preference in adulthood, and what is more, how these preferences are flexible and potentially dependent on parenthood status in adult men.
  • Ronnegard, Lars; McFarlane, S. Eryn; Husby, Arild; Kawakami, Takeshi; Ellegren, Hans; Qvarnstrom, Anna (2016)
    1. Genomewide association studies (GWAS) enable detailed dissections of the genetic basis for organisms' ability to adapt to a changing environment. In long-term studies of natural populations, individuals are often marked at one point in their life and then repeatedly recaptured. It is therefore essential that a method for GWAS includes the process of repeated sampling. In a GWAS, the effects of thousands of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) need to be fitted and any model development is constrained by the computational requirements. A method is therefore required that can fit a highly hierarchical model and at the same time is computationally fast enough to be useful. 2. Our method fits fixed SNP effects in a linear mixed model that can include both random polygenic effects and permanent environmental effects. In this way, the model can correct for population structure and model repeated measures. The covariance structure of the linear mixed model is first estimated and subsequently used in a generalized least squares setting to fit the SNP effects. The method was evaluated in a simulation study based on observed genotypes from a long-term study of collared flycatchers in Sweden. 3. The method we present here was successful in estimating permanent environmental effects from simulated repeated measures data. Additionally, we found that especially for variable phenotypes having large variation between years, the repeated measurements model has a substantial increase in power compared to a model using average phenotypes as a response. 4. The method is available in the R package RepeatABEL. It increases the power in GWAS having repeated measures, especially for long-term studies of natural populations, and the R implementation is expected to facilitate modelling of longitudinal data for studies of both animal and human populations.
  • Johnson, Sini; Candolin, Ulrika (2017)
    Much evidence exists for sexually selected traits reflecting various components of mate quality, but the factors that limit signal expression and ensure honest signaling are less well known. Predation risk has been proposed to be one factor that could constrain the elaboration of visually conspicuous signals and ensure honesty, but little evidence exists because of limitations of earlier used methods. We investigated using a combination of field observations and experimental work if a conspicuous sexual signal of the threespine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus, the red nuptial coloration of the male, increases predation risk. We compared the proportion of colorful males in the gut of a predator in the wild, the perch Perca fluviatilis, to that in the population, and found proportionally more red-colored stickleback in the gut. This indicates that the predator selectively preys on colorful males under natural conditions. To differentiate between the effects of color and behavior on susceptibility to predation, we experimentally investigated the attack behavior of the predator towards breeding stickleback males differing in coloration. We found the predator to preferentially attack more colorful males, independent of their behavior. These results indicate that predation risk is a cost of the sexual signal that could limit expression and influence the honesty of the signal as an indicator of mate quality
  • Karvonen, Anssi; Lindström, Kai (2018)
    Parasitism is considered a major selective force in natural host populations. Infections can decrease host condition and vigour, and potentially influence, for example, host population dynamics and behavior such as mate choice. We studied parasite infections of two common marine fish species, the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus) and the common goby (Pomatoschistus microps), in the brackish water Northern Baltic Sea. We were particularly interested in the occurrence of parasite taxa located in central sensory organs, such as eyes, potentially affecting fish behavior and mate choice. We found that both fish species harbored parasite communities dominated by taxa transmitted to fish through aquatic invertebrates. Infections also showed significant spatiotemporal variation. Trematodes in the eyes were very few in some locations, but infection levels were higher among females than males, suggesting differences in exposure or resistance between the sexes. To test between these hypotheses, we experimentally exposed male and female sand gobies to infection with the eye fluke Diplostomum pseudospathaceum. These trials showed that the fish became readily infected and females had higher parasite numbers, supporting higher susceptibility of females. Eye fluke infections also caused high cataract intensities among the fish in the wild. Our results demonstrate the potential of these parasites to influence host condition and visual abilities, which may have significant implications for survival and mate choice in goby populations.
  • Class, Barbara; Kluen, Edward; Brommer, Jon E. (2019)
    Indirect sexual selection arises when reproductive individuals choose their mates based on heritable ornaments that are genetically correlated to fitness. Evidence for genetic associations between ornamental colouration and fitness remains scarce. In this study, we investigate the quantitative genetic relationship between different aspects of tail structural colouration (brightness, hue and UV chroma) and performance (cell-mediated immunity, body mass and wing length) in blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) nestlings. In line with previous studies, we find low heritability for structural colouration and moderate heritability for performance measures. Multivariate animal models show positive genetic correlations between the three measures of performance, indicating quantitative genetic variation for overall performance, and tail brightness and UV chroma, two genetically independent colour measures, are genetically correlated with performance (positively and negatively, respectively). Our results suggest that mate choice based on independent aspects of tail colouration can have fitness payoffs in blue tits and provide support for the indirect benefits hypothesis. However, low heritability of tail structural colouration implies that indirect sexual selection on mate choice for this ornament will be a weak evolutionary force.
  • Buechel, Severine D.; Noreikiene, Kristina; DeFaveri, Jacquelin; Toli, Elisavet; Kolm, Niclas; Merila, Juha (2019)
    Snapshot analyses have demonstrated dramatic intraspecific variation in the degree of brain sexual size dimorphism (SSD). Although brain SSDis believed to be generated by the sex-specific cognitive demands of reproduction, the relative roles of developmental and population-specific contributions to variation in brain SSD remain little studied. Using a common garden experiment, we tested for sex-specific changes in brain anatomy over the breeding cycle in three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) sampled from four locations in northern Europe. We found that the male brain increased in size (ca. 24%) significantly more than the female brain towards breeding, and that the resulting brain SSD was similar (ca. 20%) for all populations over the breeding cycle. Our findings support the notion that the stickleback brain is highly plastic and changes over the breeding cycle, especially in males, likely as an adaptive response to the cognitive demands of reproduction (e.g. nest construction and parental care). The results also provide evidence to suggest that breeding-related changes in brain size may be the reason for the widely varying estimates of brain SSD across studies of this species, cautioning against interpreting brain size measurements from a single time point as fixed/static.