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Abandoning the ship using sex, dispersal or dormancy: multiple escape routes from challenging conditions


Gerber, Nina; Kokko, Hanna (2018). Abandoning the ship using sex, dispersal or dormancy: multiple escape routes from challenging conditions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 373(1757):20170424.

Abstract

Natural populations often experience environments that vary across space and over time, leading to spatio-temporal variation of the fitness of a genotype. If local conditions are poor, organisms can disperse in space (physical movement) or time (dormancy, diapause). Facultatively sexual organisms can switch between asexual and sexual reproduction, and thus have a third option available to deal with maladaptedness: they can engage in sexual reproduction in unfavourable conditions (an ‘abandon-ship’ response). Sexual reproduction in facultatively sexual organisms is often coupled with dispersal and/or dormancy, while bet-hedging theory at first sight predicts sex, dispersal and dormancy to covary negatively, as they represent different escape mechanisms that could substitute for each other. Here we briefly review the observed links between sex, dormancy and dispersal, and model the expected covariation patterns of dispersal, dormancy and the reproductive mode in the context of local adaptation to spatio-temporally fluctuating environments. The correlations between sex, dormancy and dispersal evolve differently within species versus across species. Various risk-spreading strategies are not completely interchangeable, as each has dynamic consequences that can feed back into the profitability of others. Our results shed light on the discrepancy between previous theoretical predictions on covarying risk-spreading traits and help explain why sex often associates with other means of escaping unfavourable situations.

Abstract

Natural populations often experience environments that vary across space and over time, leading to spatio-temporal variation of the fitness of a genotype. If local conditions are poor, organisms can disperse in space (physical movement) or time (dormancy, diapause). Facultatively sexual organisms can switch between asexual and sexual reproduction, and thus have a third option available to deal with maladaptedness: they can engage in sexual reproduction in unfavourable conditions (an ‘abandon-ship’ response). Sexual reproduction in facultatively sexual organisms is often coupled with dispersal and/or dormancy, while bet-hedging theory at first sight predicts sex, dispersal and dormancy to covary negatively, as they represent different escape mechanisms that could substitute for each other. Here we briefly review the observed links between sex, dormancy and dispersal, and model the expected covariation patterns of dispersal, dormancy and the reproductive mode in the context of local adaptation to spatio-temporally fluctuating environments. The correlations between sex, dormancy and dispersal evolve differently within species versus across species. Various risk-spreading strategies are not completely interchangeable, as each has dynamic consequences that can feed back into the profitability of others. Our results shed light on the discrepancy between previous theoretical predictions on covarying risk-spreading traits and help explain why sex often associates with other means of escaping unfavourable situations.

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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:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Language:English
Date:5 October 2018
Deposited On:12 Feb 2019 10:12
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:06
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8436
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2017.0424

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