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Algal Turbidity Hampers Ornament Perception, but Not Expression, in a Sex-Role-Reversed Pipefish
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Physiology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal Ecology.
2016 (English)In: Ethology, ISSN 0179-1613, E-ISSN 1439-0310, Vol. 122, no 3, 215-225 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sexual ornaments are used both in intra- and intersexual contexts, and these signals have evolved to function in the particular habitat the animal is adapted to. Habitat characteristics may, however, change rapidly due to anthropogenic effects, sometimes at rates too fast for many organisms to adaptively respond. In aquatic ecosystems, eutrophication is currently changing chemical as well as visual properties of the environment. Algae blooms increase water turbidity, and the reduction of water transparency thus has the potential to alter visual ornaments and their perception. However, results are not congruent. Rather, algae turbidity may decrease, increase, or leave ornaments unaffected. The effect seems to depend on exposure time, condition, population and species. Here, we found that the perception of sexual signals, but not their expression, was hampered by turbidity in the sex-role-reversed pipefish Nerophis ophidion. In a laboratory experiment we found that female sexual ornaments (i.e., blue color markings and a skinfold) and fecundity was unaffected by turbidity. Male adaptive mate choice for larger females with large ornament was, however, hampered under turbid conditions, whereas in clear water males choose larger, more ornamented females. Thus, we show that water turbidity had no effect on signal expression but did hamper ornament perception and consequently randomized mate choice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2016. Vol. 122, no 3, 215-225 p.
Keyword [en]
eutrophication; intersexual selection; syngnathidae; sexual signals
National Category
Behavioral Sciences Biology
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Animal Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-275043DOI: 10.1111/eth.12461ISI: 000368805700003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-275043DiVA: diva2:898533
Swedish Research Council, 186163/V40
Available from: 2016-01-28 Created: 2016-01-28 Last updated: 2016-02-23Bibliographically approved

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Sundin, JosefinRosenqvist, GunillaBerglund, Anders
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