Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 258–274

Comparisons of life-history traits between clonal and sexual fish (Poeciliopsis:Poeciliidae) raised in monoculture and mixed treatments

  • Stephen C. Weeks

DOI: 10.1007/BF01237772

Cite this article as:
Weeks, S.C. Evol Ecol (1995) 9: 258. doi:10.1007/BF01237772


Clonal and sexual co-existence is common in a number of vertebrate taxa, even though the ‘cost of sex’ makes such co-existence theoretically unlikely. The frozen niche-variation (FNV) model explains this co-existence on the basis of differences in overall niche breadth and competition between clones and sexuals. In the present study I examined two predictions of the FNV model. First, I examined the prediction that genetically variable populations have higher relative fitness when compared with monoclonal populations by comparing the performances of clonal and outcrossed sexual strains ofPoeciliopsis in monocultures at two densities. The prediction of increased overall productivity for the sexuals was verified, with net reproductive rates for the sexuals being between two and four times as high as the clones. Second, I tested the prediction that derived clones will successfully compete with their sexual progenitor(s) in the narrow range to which the clones are adapted, while the sexuals should co-exist because of their ability to use a wider range of resources than any single clone. I examined this prediction by comparing performance variables (e.g. growth, fecundity and survival) of each strain in pure culture with their partitioned performance from the mixed treatments. Clonal performance increased in mixtures compared to monocultures, as expected. However, the expectation that the sexual's performance would be less affected by mixtures than the clones' performance, was not met. The sexuals had reduced growth and fecundity on a par with the increase in both variables in the clones. Therefore, support for the FNV model was mixed. Although the performance in monocultures suggests that the sexuals have a wider niche breadth than the clones, performances in mixtures do not indicate such a relationship. Switching of behaviours or resource-use patterns between mixed and pure cultures may have caused the equivocal results.


maintenance of sex unisexual reproduction frozen niche-variation model growth survival and reproduction 

Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen C. Weeks
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Theoretical and Applied GeneticsRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of AkronAkronUSA

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