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The consequences of sexual selection in well-adapted and amaladapted populations of bean beetles: Sexual selection in maladapted populations
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Whether sexual selection generally promotes or impedes population persistence remains an open question. Intralocus sexual conflict (IaSC) can render sexual selection in males detrimental to the population by increasing the frequency of alleles with positive effects on male reproductive success but negative effects on female fecundity. Recent modelling based on fitness landscape theory, however, indicates that the relative impact of IaSC may be reduced in maladapted populations and that sexual selection therefore might promote adaptation when it is most needed. Here, we test this prediction using bean beetles that had undergone 80 generations of experimental evolution on two alternative host plants. We isolated and assessed the effect of maladaptation on sex-specific strengths of selection and IaSC by cross-rearing the two experimental evolution regimes on the alternative hosts and estimating within-population genetic (co)variance for fitness in males and females. Two key predictions were upheld: males generally experienced stronger selection compared to females and maladaptation increased selection in females. However, maladaptation consistently decreased male-bias in the strength of selection and IaSC was not reduced in maladapted populations. These findings imply that sexual selection can be disrupted in stressful environmental conditions, thus reducing one of the potential benefits of sexual reproduction in maladapted populations.

National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331970OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-331970DiVA: diva2:1150816
Available from: 2017-10-20 Created: 2017-10-20 Last updated: 2017-10-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sexual Selection and Adaptation to Novel Environments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sexual Selection and Adaptation to Novel Environments
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The work included in this thesis aims at exploring the environmental sensitivity of benefits and costs of sexual selection through a combined empirical and theoretical effort, to increase our understanding of the impact of environmental change on sexually reproducing populations.Can sexual selection promote adaptation to novel environments? Sexual selection for good genes should accelerate adaptation by granting higher reproductive success to individuals of high genetic quality. However, sexual conflict is a frequent outcome of sexual reproduction and may often be detrimental to population fitness. Experimental evolution has shown that the role of sexual selection in adaptation is variable, because of a complex balance between the detrimental and beneficial effects described above.The present thesis is investigating the role of sexual selection in adaptation by focusing on the sex-specific strength of selection and the intensity of intralocus sexual conflict (IaSC) in ancestral and novel environments. The sex-specific strength of selection is a valuable proxy for the benefits of sexual reproduction, since a male-bias in selection caused by sexual selection should allow efficient purging of deleterious alleles with little impact on female fecundity and cost to population fitness.This thesis investigates both sex-specific selection and IaSC across benign and novel environments in two species of seed beetles, Callosobruchus maculatus and Acanthoscelides obtectus, and includes a theoretical model of the effect of environmental change on of sexual selection. The empirical part of my results indicates that, generally, selection at the adult stage is male biased but that this male bias may be reduced under stress, pointing towards reduced benefits of sexual selection under rapid environmental change. Additional simulations suggest that the frequency dependent nature of sexual selection alone could explain this trend. No empirical support was found for the reduction of IaSC under stress.It is becoming crucial today to understand the impact of environmental change on natural populations. This thesis brings new material adding to our understanding of the role of sexual selection within that particular issue. The outcome of sexual selection is dependent on a variety of mechanisms, such as good genes processes and sexual conflict, which are very likely to be dependent on ecological factors and specificity of the system studied. For that reason, carefully controlled experiments on laboratory systems and mathematical modelling are necessary steps that should ultimately lead to the study of similar questions in natural systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2017. 40 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1590
Keyword
Sexual selection, Environmental change, Sexual conflict, Environmental stress, Adaptation, Adaptive landscape
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-332119 (URN)978-91-513-0131-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-12-15, Lindhalsalen, Norbyväagen 18, 75236, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-22 Created: 2017-10-24 Last updated: 2017-11-22

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Martinossi-Allibert, Ivain

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