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Sexual selection affects climate adaptation in collared flycatchers
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0706-458X
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
University of Helsinki.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

The role of sexual selection in climate adaptation is debated. We tested whether sexual selection has the potential to speed up adaptation to new thermal environments in a natural population of collared flycatchers. Based on a three-year cross-fostering experiment, we found that the size of a sexually selected trait predicted offspring metabolic rate: male collared flycatchers with large forehead patches sired offspring with low metabolic rate regardless of the ambient temperature. Thus, there was a stable significant relationship between forehead patch size of genetic fathers and offspring metabolic rate. Nestlings with low metabolic rate experienced a survival advantage when growing under high temperatures, which is consistent with the prediction that a low metabolic rate confers a fitness advantage in warm climates. Our study shows that sexual selection can affect climate adaptation. 

Keyword [en]
sexual selection, climate adaptation, resting metabolic rate, Ficedula flycatcher
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-309967OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-309967DiVA: diva2:1053216
Available from: 2016-12-08 Created: 2016-12-08 Last updated: 2016-12-08
In thesis
1. Speciation and Metabolic rate: Insights from an avian hybrid zone
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Speciation and Metabolic rate: Insights from an avian hybrid zone
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The role of divergent climate adaptation in speciation has received surprisingly little scientific attention. My dissertation research focused on how resting metabolic rate (RMR) relates to the build up of prezygotic and postzygotic isolation in a natural Ficedula flycatcher hybrid zone. RMR is the amount of energy an organism needs to run its internal organs. Since RMR is related to life history traits and thermoregulation in other systems, it is likely to affect speciation processes at secondary contact. I found that adult collared flycatchers displace pied flycatchers into increasingly poor habitats (Paper I). Pied nestlings exhibit lower RMR in poor environments (Paper II), which may promote regional coexistence and habitat isolation by making it possible for pied flycatchers to escape competition from collared flycatchers and reduce the risk of hybridization by breeding in the poorer habitats. Further, I found that while collared flycatcher nestling RMR was not environmentally-dependent (Paper II, Paper III), those collared flycatcher nestlings that had a lower RMR in poor environments tended to have higher condition (Paper III). Further, RMR was genetically linked to a sexual ornament in collared males that has previously been shown to be beneficial in poor environments. Lastly, I found that by seven days old, nestlings increase their metabolic rate when listening to song, indicating that they are listening, and by 9 days they can discriminate between songs (Paper IV). Taken together, RMR could affect pre-zygotic isolation via correlations with life history strategies, song and sexual ornaments. RMR is also related to post zygotic isolation in Ficedula flycatchers. I found that flycatcher hybrids tended to have a higher RMR than the parental species (Paper V), and that there were many differentially expressed genes in energetically expensive organs in hybrids that were related to metabolic function (Paper VI). Thus, metabolic dysfunction, possibly caused by genetic incompatibilities, in Ficedula flycatcher hybrids could be a factor leading to infertility and postzygotic isolation between the parental species. Overall, I find that RMR could be a general physiological trait that affects both pre- and postzygotic isolation in hybridizing species at secondary contact, and ought to be more thoroughly considered in speciation research. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2017. 43 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1462
resting metabolic rate, life history, hybridization, speciation, reproductive isolation, Ficedula flycatcher
National Category
Ecology Evolutionary Biology Genetics
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Animal Ecology
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-309969 (URN)978-91-554-9776-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-02-10, Zootissalen, Villavägen 9, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2017-01-19 Created: 2016-12-08 Last updated: 2017-01-19

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