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No evidence of inbreeding depression in sperm performance traits in wild song sparrows


Losdat, Sylvain; Germain, Ryan R; Nietlisbach, Pirmin; Arcese, Peter; Reid, Jane M (2018). No evidence of inbreeding depression in sperm performance traits in wild song sparrows. Ecology and Evolution, 8(3):1842-1852.

Abstract

Inbreeding is widely hypothesized to shape mating systems and population persistence, but such effects will depend on which traits show inbreeding depression. Population and evolutionary consequences could be substantial if inbreeding decreases sperm performance and hence decreases male fertilization success and female fertility. However, the magnitude of inbreeding depression in sperm performance traits has rarely been estimated in wild populations experiencing natural variation in inbreeding. Further, the hypothesis that inbreeding could increase within-ejaculate variation in sperm traits and thereby further affect male fertilization success has not been explicitly tested. We used a wild pedigreed song sparrow (Melospiza melodia) population, where frequent extrapair copulations likely create strong postcopulatory competition for fertilization success, to quantify effects of male coefficient of inbreeding (f) on key sperm performance traits. We found no evidence of inbreeding depression in sperm motility, longevity, or velocity, and the within-ejaculate variance in sperm velocity did not increase with male f. Contrary to inferences from highly inbred captive and experimental populations, our results imply that moderate inbreeding will not necessarily constrain sperm performance in wild populations. Consequently, the widely observed individual-level and population-level inbreeding depression in male and female fitness may not stem from reduced sperm performance in inbred males.

Abstract

Inbreeding is widely hypothesized to shape mating systems and population persistence, but such effects will depend on which traits show inbreeding depression. Population and evolutionary consequences could be substantial if inbreeding decreases sperm performance and hence decreases male fertilization success and female fertility. However, the magnitude of inbreeding depression in sperm performance traits has rarely been estimated in wild populations experiencing natural variation in inbreeding. Further, the hypothesis that inbreeding could increase within-ejaculate variation in sperm traits and thereby further affect male fertilization success has not been explicitly tested. We used a wild pedigreed song sparrow (Melospiza melodia) population, where frequent extrapair copulations likely create strong postcopulatory competition for fertilization success, to quantify effects of male coefficient of inbreeding (f) on key sperm performance traits. We found no evidence of inbreeding depression in sperm motility, longevity, or velocity, and the within-ejaculate variance in sperm velocity did not increase with male f. Contrary to inferences from highly inbred captive and experimental populations, our results imply that moderate inbreeding will not necessarily constrain sperm performance in wild populations. Consequently, the widely observed individual-level and population-level inbreeding depression in male and female fitness may not stem from reduced sperm performance in inbred males.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Nature and Landscape Conservation
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:26 Jan 2018 07:28
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 13:11
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:2045-7758
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3721

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