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Assortative mating can limit the evolution of phenotypic plasticity
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA. (Integrated Science Lab)
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics. Evolution and Ecology Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria. (Integrated Science Lab)
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Department of Ecology and Genetics/Limnology, Uppsala University.
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, isoften advantageous for organisms in heterogeneous environments. Although the degrees ofplasticity appear limited in nature, many studies have reported low costs of plasticity invarious species. Existing studies argue for ecological, genetic, or physiological costs orselection eliminating plasticity with high costs, but have not considered costs arising fromsexual selection. Here, we show that sexual selection caused by mate choice can impede theevolution of phenotypic plasticity in a trait used for mate choice. Plasticity can remain low tomoderate even in the absence of physiological or genetic costs, when individualsphenotypically adapted to contrasting environments through plasticity can mate with eachother 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 ofplasticity is constrained by sexual selection. This occurs at intermediate strengths of femalechoosiness we tested. Our results demonstrate that mate choice is a potential source of anindirect cost to phenotypic plasticity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2014. Vol. 28, no 6, 1057-1074 p.
Keyword [en]
assortative mating, disruptive selection, magic trait, mate choice, phenotypic diversification, phenotypic plasticity, sexual selection, individual-based model
National Category
Ecology Evolutionary Biology Other Mathematics
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-87674DOI: 10.1007/s10682-014-9728-5ISI: 000344075200006OAI: diva2:710344
Available from: 2014-04-07 Created: 2014-04-07 Last updated: 2015-03-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Evolutionary consequences of ecological interactions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evolutionary consequences of ecological interactions
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Eco-evolutionary dynamics integrates the reciprocal interactions betweenecology and evolution. These two branches of biology traditionally assumethe other as static for simplicity. However, increasing evidence shows thatthis simplification may not always hold because ecology and evolution canoperate in similar timescales. This thesis theoretically explores how thereciprocal interactions may influence ecological and evolutionary outcomesin four different eco-evolutionary contexts.Many species of non-social animals live in groups. Aggregating ingroups often has both benefits and costs that depend on group size. Thanksto the benefits of aggregation, population growth likely depends positivelyon population density when it is small. This phenomenon, the Allee effect,has been hypothesized to explain the evolution of aggregation behavior. Ifind that the Allee effect alone does not lead to the evolution whenpopulation dynamics is explicitly accounted for. Some other mechanisms,such as frequent needs for colonizing new patches or anti-aggregation,should be invoked to explain why aggregation behavior could evolve.Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of a genotype to express distinctphenotypes when exposed to different environments. Although it is oftenshown to be adaptive and not costly, highly plastic organisms are rare. Paststudies demonstrated some potential reasons. I test another possibility; costsmay arise from sexual selection because highly plastic individuals may beless preferred as a mate. I show that, even in the absence of the direct cost ofplasticity, the level of plasticity remained low at intermediate strengths ofassortative mating. This pattern is robust across wide ranges of parametervalues.Ecological speciation occurs when ecologically divergent selectionbetween environments causes reproductive isolation between divergingsubpopulations. Several verbal models of ecological speciation emphasizethe roles of phenotypic plasticity in promoting speciation. The complexprocesses involved in speciation, however, are difficult to be evaluated byverbal accounts. I quantitatively test the proposed idea in a mechanisticmodel of ecological speciation in the presence and absence of plasticity. Ifind conditions under which plasticity can promote or hinder ecologicalspeciation. Plasticity facilitates speciation by producing a gap in thedistributions of expressed phenotypes, which serves as a barrier to gene flowin an assortatively mating population.Ecosystem ecology and evolutionary biology are the least integratedfields in ecology and evolution. Natural selection operating at the individuallevels on traits governing ecosystem functions may affect ecosystemproperties, which may feedback to individuals. I reviewed this idea anddemonstrate the feedback loop by using a simple consumer-resource model.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2014. 24 p.
adaptive dynamics, eco-evolutionary dynamics, ecological speciation, ecosystem, individual based, population dynamics, phenotypic plasticity, predator-prey, sexual selection
National Category
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-87734 (URN)978-91-7601-018-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-04-29, Naturvetarhuset, N200, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-04-08 Created: 2014-04-07 Last updated: 2014-04-08Bibliographically approved

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Nonaka, EtsukoBrännström, ÅkeSvanbäck, Richard
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