, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 195-211

A hypothesis for the evolution of androdioecy: the joint influence of reproductive assurance and local mate competition in a metapopulation

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Abstract

In a subdivided population with recurrent local extinction and re-colonisation, competition amongst related pollen or sperm to fertilise ovules or eggs (‘local mate competition’) is expected to select for female-biased sex allocation. Population turnover should also select against unisexuality in favour of self-fertile cosexuality, because males and females are unable to establish new populations on their own (‘Baker's Law’). Here I argue that androdioecy, a rare breeding system in which males co-occur with hermaphrodites, may evolve in a metapopulation under the joint action of local mate competition and Baker's Law if rates of self-fertilisation decrease with increasing population size. The hypothesis makes several predictions regarding patterns of life-history and sex allocation that are borne out by recent observations of androdioecious species in several unrelated lineages of plants and animals.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.