Adaptive genetic complementarity in mate choice coexists with selection for elaborate sexual traits

Kevin P. Oh, Alexander Badyaev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Choice of genetically unrelated mates is widely documented, yet it is not known how self-referential mate choice can co-occur with commonly observed directional selection on sexual displays. Across 10 breeding seasons in a wild bird population, we found strong fitness benefits of matings between genetically unrelated partners and show that self-referential choice of genetically unrelated mates alternates with sexual selection on elaborate plumage. Seasonal cycles of diminishing variation in ornamentation, caused by early pairing of the most elaborated males, and influx of increasingly genetically unrelated available mates caused by female-biased dispersal, lead to temporal fluctuations in the target of mate choice and enabled coexistence of directional selection for ornament elaboration with adaptive pairing of genetically unrelated partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1913-1919
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume273
Issue number1596
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

Fingerprint

complementarity
mate choice
Birds
mating behavior
sexual selection
Breeding
Display devices
plumage
ornamentation
wild birds
breeding season
Population
coexistence
fitness
bird

Keywords

  • Dispersal
  • Extra-pair copulations
  • Genetic relatedness
  • Sexual ornamentation
  • Sexual selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

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AB - Choice of genetically unrelated mates is widely documented, yet it is not known how self-referential mate choice can co-occur with commonly observed directional selection on sexual displays. Across 10 breeding seasons in a wild bird population, we found strong fitness benefits of matings between genetically unrelated partners and show that self-referential choice of genetically unrelated mates alternates with sexual selection on elaborate plumage. Seasonal cycles of diminishing variation in ornamentation, caused by early pairing of the most elaborated males, and influx of increasingly genetically unrelated available mates caused by female-biased dispersal, lead to temporal fluctuations in the target of mate choice and enabled coexistence of directional selection for ornament elaboration with adaptive pairing of genetically unrelated partners.

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