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Mate competition and resource competition are inter-related in sexual selection
Wacker, S.; Amundsen, T. (2014). Mate competition and resource competition are inter-related in sexual selection. J. Evolution. Biol. 27(3): 466-477.
In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology. European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB): Basel. ISSN 1010-061X; e-ISSN 1420-9101, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Marine Sciences
    Marine Sciences > Marine Sciences General
    Scientific Community
    Scientific Publication
Author keywords
    aggression;body size;courtship;operational sex ratio;selection analysis;territoriality

Project Top | Authors 
  • Association of European marine biological laboratories, more

Authors  Top 
  • Wacker, S.
  • Amundsen, T.

    Sexual selection can be affected by the competition for limited breeding resources and/or the competition for limited mates. Although there is ample evidence for each type of competition by itself, little is known about their relative importance and interaction. To address these questions, we established 48 experimental breeding populations of the two-spotted goby (Gobiusculus flavescens), a substrate-breeding fish with paternal care. In three experimental treatments, males were limited in the access to either nest sites or mates or were provided with both nests and mates in excess. We quantified male competition behaviour (agonistic and courtship), the opportunity for selection and selection on male body size. Limited access to nests and mates produced similar opportunities for selection, but only limited access to mates increased male competitive behaviours and caused positive selection on male body size. Selection on body size in the mate-limited treatment was due both to larger males being more likely to take up nests and to larger males being more likely to mate once they had a nest. These findings demonstrate that resource and mate limitation can differ in their effects on sexual selection. The results also reveal that resource and mating competition can be highly inter-related and not always separated in time, implying that methods to disentangle the two processes must be chosen with care. Future research should consider experimental and analytical approaches similar to those of the present study in attempts to elucidate the interaction of resource and mating competition in animals.

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