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Human-induced eutrophication enhances reproductive success through effects on parenting ability in sticklebacks
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Limnology.
2008 (English)In: Oikos, ISSN 0030-1299, Vol. 117, no 3, 459-465 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Human-induced processes are altering habitats at an unprecedented rate and scale. This has changed the biodiversity and biomass in many areas, but also led to phenotypic and genetic alterations of populations. Here we investigated the effects of the ongoing eutrophication in the Baltic Sea on the reproductive success of threespine stickleback males Gasterosteus aculeatus, through effects on reproductive behaviour and parenting ability. We allowed males to complete breeding cycles in a competitive setting under increased macro algae cover or increased turbidity caused by phytoplankton growth. Both environmental factors improved the parenting ability of the males and enhanced reproductive output. Increased alga growth and turbidity reduced aggressive interactions between males during the parental phase, probably due to reduced visibility, which slowed down a deterioration of condition. This increased the reproductive lifespan of the males and enabled them to complete more breeding cycles, as found when males were allowed to complete as many breeding cycles as they could under increased algae cover. In addition, increased turbidity improved oxygen conditions, which enhanced hatching success and reduced the need for vigorous fanning behaviour. Increased turbidity, however, relaxed selection on male size. Together with earlier results on relaxed sexual selection under changed environmental conditions, this suggests that the effect of eutrophication on stickleback populations is complex. It increases the reproductive output of populations, since more individuals are spawning within eutrophicated areas and their hatching success is increased, but it relaxes sexual and natural selection at the reproductive stage. Whether this will shift selection and population regulation to other life stages, such as the juvenile stage, deserves further investigations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 117, no 3, 459-465 p.
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-112400DOI: 10.1111/j.2007.0030-1299.16302.xISI: 000253634100017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-112400DiVA: diva2:286158
Available from: 2010-01-14 Created: 2010-01-13 Last updated: 2010-02-05Bibliographically approved

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