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Assortative mating can limit the evolution of phenotypic plasticity
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Limnology.
2014 (English)In: Evolutionary Ecology, ISSN 0269-7653, E-ISSN 1573-8477, Vol. 28, no 6, 1057-1074 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Phenotypic plasticity, the ability to adjust phenotype to the exposed environment, is often advantageous for organisms living in heterogeneous environments. Although the degree of plasticity appears limited in nature, many studies have reported low costs of plasticity in various species. Existing studies argue for ecological, genetic, or physiological costs or selection eliminating plasticity with high costs, but have not considered costs arising from sexual selection. Here, we show that sexual selection caused by mate choice can impede the evolution of phenotypic plasticity in a trait used for mate choice. Plasticity can remain low to moderate even in the absence of physiological or genetic costs, when individuals phenotypically adapted to contrasting environments through plasticity can mate with each other and choose mates based on phenotypic similarity. Because the non-choosy sex (i.e., males) with lower degrees of plasticity are more favored in matings by the choosy sex (i.e., females) adapted to different environments, directional selection toward higher degrees of plasticity is constrained by sexual selection. This occurs at intermediate strengths of female choosiness in the range of the parameter value we examined. Our results demonstrate that mate choice is a potential source of an indirect cost to phenotypic plasticity in a sexually selected plastic trait.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 28, no 6, 1057-1074 p.
National Category
Ecology Genetics
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-238731DOI: 10.1007/s10682-014-9728-5ISI: 000344075200006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-238731DiVA: diva2:772037
Available from: 2014-12-16 Created: 2014-12-16 Last updated: 2014-12-17Bibliographically approved

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Svanbäck, Richard
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