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Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 98, Issue 4, pp 1047–1058 | Cite as

The intrinsically dynamic nature of mating patterns and sexual selection

Article

Abstract

Selection processes are influenced by both biotic and abiotic variables, most of which seasonally fluctuate. Therefore, selection may also vary temporally. Specifically, sexual selection, an integral component of natural selection, will inevitably exhibit temporal variation but the scale at which these changes occur are still not well understood. In this study, performed on a wild population of the sex-role reversed black striped pipefish Syngnathus abaster (Risso, 1827), we contrast variables such as male reproductive success, mating success, female investment, mate choice and operational sex ratio between two periods, either near the onset or end of the breeding season. Sexual selection is stronger early in the breeding season. Male reproductive and mating success are significantly affected by male size during the onset of the breeding season but not during the end. Moreover, we found that larger females reproduce mainly during the onset while smaller females had increased chances of reproducing towards the end. As our sampling was performed in two consecutive years, it could be argued that our results stem primarily from between-year variation. Nevertheless, variation in demographic parameters from the onset to the end of the breeding season is similar to that observed in past sampling events. Hence, we suggest that the change in mating patterns within the breeding season derives from seasonal fluctuations in several abiotic (e.g., temperature) and biotic variables (e.g., operational sex ratio), rendering the expression of selective forces, such as sexual selection, inherently dynamic.

Keywords

Mating system Female investment Mate choice Reproduction Variation Selection 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the contributions of the editor and two anonymous referees, for their valuable comments on the manuscript. This study was partially funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) through the R&D project PTDC/AAC-CLI/112936/2009 and the Project “Genomics Applied To Genetic Resources” co-financed by North Portugal Regional Operational Programme 2007/2013 (ON.2 – O Novo Norte), under the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology funded Nuno Monteiro through “Programa Ciência (2009)” and Mário Cunha through the PhD grant SFRH/BD/87616/2012.

Supplementary material

10641_2014_338_MOESM1_ESM.doc (52 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 51 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIBIO/InBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos GenéticosVairãoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Animal Ecology, Evolutionary Biology Centre (EBC)Uppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  4. 4.CEBIMED Faculdade de Ciências da SaúdeUniversidade Fernando PessoaPortoPortugal

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