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Human induced turbidity alters reproductive success and the stength of sexual selection in a pipefish
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

 Human induced environmental change has the potential to alter species interactions, population dynamics and evolutionary processes. One such environmental change is algal induced turbidity, caused by eutrophication. While changes in mate choice and sexual selection due to turbidity has been demonstrated, the possible impact on mating systems remains to be explored. In this study we investigated the impact of algal turbidity on reproductive success, mating system and sexual selection using two populations of the broad-nosed pipefish, Syngnathus typhle, one from the Swedish west coast and one from the Baltic Sea. Under natural conditions, both populations practise a polygynandrous mating system with males as well as females having several partners. However, in a population from the Venice lagoon, where turbidity levels are high, the male mating system is shifted towards polyandry, with most males mating with one female only. In an experimental setting we tested whether this shift in mating system could be driven by turbidity alone. Contrary to our expectations, we found no effect of turbidity on the male mating system in terms of a general shift towards genetic polyandry. However, a positive relationship between male body length and number of mates was stronger in turbid environments for the Baltic Sea population. This indicates that although turbidity did not seem to affect the number of females a male mated with it has the potential to affect the strength of sexual selection. Further, for this population the turbid environment resulted in lower reproductive success.

Keyword [en]
Eutrophication, Mating system, Mate choice, Syngnathidae
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Animal Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-195087OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-195087DiVA: diva2:608495
Available from: 2013-02-27 Created: 2013-02-20 Last updated: 2013-03-22
In thesis
1. Sex in Murky Waters: Anthropogenic Disturbance of Sexual Selection in Pipefish
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sex in Murky Waters: Anthropogenic Disturbance of Sexual Selection in Pipefish
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Animals experience variation in their environment because of natural changes. However, due to anthropogenic disturbance, the speed and severity of these changes have recently increased. This thesis investigates how reproductive behaviours may be affected by human induced environmental change. In specific, I investigate how visual and chemical changes in the aquatic environment, caused by eutrophication, affect mating systems and sexual selection in fish. Broad-nosed- and straight-nosed pipefish, which both have been studied in detail for a long period, were used as model organisms. These two species are particularly suitable model organisms since they perform complex courtship behaviours, including the advertisement of ornaments and a nuptial dance. Further, two distinct populations were studied, one on the Swedish west coast and one in the Baltic Sea, as these two locations vary in the degree and extent of environmental disturbance, in particular turbidity. I found that changes in the visual environment had no impact on the development of female sexual ornaments in these sex-role reversed pipefishes, but it hampered adaptive mate choice. Turbidity also had a negative effect on reproductive success in the Baltic Sea population. Changes in the chemical environment in the form of increased pH reduced the probability to mate, while hypoxia did not alter mating propensity. However, hypoxic water delayed the onset of both courting and mating. Hence, human induced change in aquatic environments may alter the processes of sexual selection and population dynamics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. 35 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1022
Keyword
Mating system, Mate choice, Courtship, Eutrophication, Turbidity, Hypoxia, Ocean acidification, Syngnathidae
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-195861 (URN)978-91-554-8603-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-04-19, Zootissalen, EBC, Villavägen 9, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-03-21 Created: 2013-02-27 Last updated: 2013-04-02Bibliographically approved

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