Article

An analysis of continent-wide patterns of sexual selection in a passerine bird.

Laboratoire de Parasitologie Evolutive, CNRS UMR 7103, Universitè Pierre et Marie Curie, Bât. A, 7eme etage, 7 quai St. Bernard, Case 237, F-75252 Paris Cedex 05, France.
Evolution (Impact Factor: 4.86). 05/2006; 60(4):856-68. DOI: 10.1554/05-665.1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Patterns of selection are widely believed to differ geographically, causing adaptation to local environmental conditions. However, few studies have investigated patterns of phenotypic selection across large spatial scales. We quantified the intensity of selection on morphology in a monogamous passerine bird, the barn swallow Hirundo rustica, using 6495 adults from 22 populations distributed across Europe and North Africa. According to the classical Darwin-Fisher mechanism of sexual selection in monogamous species, two important components of fitness due to sexual selection are the advantages that the most attractive males acquire by starting to breed early and their high annual fecundity. We estimated directional selection differentials on tail length (a secondary sexual character) and directional selection gradients after controlling for correlated selection on wing length and tarsus length with respect to these two fitness components. Phenotype and fitness components differed significantly among populations for which estimates were available for more than a single year. Likewise, selection differentials and selection gradients differed significantly among populations for tail length, but not for the other two characters. Sexual selection differentials differed significantly from zero across populations for tail length, particularly in males. Controlling statistically for the effects of age reduced the intensity of selection by 60 to 81%, although corrected and uncorrected estimates were strongly positively correlated. Selection differentials and gradients for tail length were positively correlated between the sexes among populations for selection acting on breeding date, but not for fecundity selection. The intensity of selection with respect to breeding date and fecundity were significantly correlated for tail length across populations. Sexual size dimorphism in tail length was significantly correlated with selection differentials with respect to breeding date for tail length in male barn swallows across populations. These findings suggest that patterns of sexual selection are consistent across large geographical scales, but also that they vary among populations. In addition, geographical patterns of phenotypic selection predict current patterns of phenotypic variation among populations, suggesting that consistent patterns of selection have been present for considerable amounts of time.

1 Bookmark
 · 
131 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pigmentation of body surface in animals can have multiple determinants and accomplish diverse functions. Eumelanin and pheomelanin are the main animal pigments, being responsible of yellow, brownish-red and black hues, and have partly common biosynthetic pathways. Many populations of vertebrates show individual variation in melanism, putatively with large heritable component. Genes responsible for eu- or pheomelanogenesis have pleiotropic but contrasting effects on life-history traits, explaining the patterns of covariation observed between melanization and physiology (e.g. immunity and stress response), sexual behavior and other characters in diverse taxa. Yet, very few studies in the wild have investigated if eu- and pheomelanization predict major fitness traits like viability or fecundity. In this correlative study, by contrasting adult barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) matched for age, sex, breeding site, and year and date of sampling, we show that males but not females that survived until the next year had paler, relatively more eu- than pheomelanic pigmentation of ventral body feathers. Better performance of individuals that allocate relatively more to eumelanogenesis was expected based on previous evidence on covariation between eumelanic pigmentation and specific traits related to immunity and susceptibility to stress. However, together with the evidence of no covariation between viability and melanization among females, this finding raises the question of the mechanisms that maintain variation in genes for melanogenesis. We discuss the possibility that eu- and pheomelanization are under contrasting viability and sexual selection, as suggested by larger breeding and sperm competition success of darker males from other barn swallow subspecies.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(4):e60426. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Melanin is the main pigment in animal coloration and considerable variation in the concentrations of the two melanin forms (pheo- and eumlanin) in pigmented tissues exists among populations and individuals. Melanin-based coloration is receiving increasing attention particularly in socio-sexual communication contexts because the melanocortin system has been hypothesized to provide a mechanistic basis for covariation between coloration and fitness traits. However, with few notable exceptions, little detailed information is available on inter-individual and inter-population variation in melanin pigmentation and on its environmental, genetic and ontogenetic components. Here, we investigate melanin-based coloration in an Italian population of a passerine bird, the barn swallow (), its sex- and age-related variation, and heritability. The concentrations of eu- and pheomelanin in the throat (brown) and belly (white-to-brownish) feathers differed between sexes but not according to age. The relative concentration of either melanin (Pheo:Eu) differed between sexes in throat but not in belly feathers, and the concentrations in males compared to females were larger in belly than in throat feathers. There were weak correlations between the concentrations of melanins within as well as among plumage regions. Coloration of belly feathers was predicted by the concentration of both melanins whereas coloration of throat feathers was only predicted by pheomelanin in females. In addition, Pheo:Eu predicted coloration of throat feathers in females and that of belly feathers in males. Finally, we found high heritability of color of throat feathers. Melanization was found to differ from that recorded in from Scotland or from from North America. Hence, present results show that pigmentation strategies vary in a complex manner according to sex and plumage region, and also among geographical populations, potentially reflecting adaptation to different natural and sexual selection regimes, and that some coloration components seem to be highly heritable.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(2):e58024. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Intralocus sexual conflict (ISC) occurs when males and females have different adaptive peaks but are constrained from evolving sexual dimorphism because of shared genes. Implications of this conflict on evolutionary dynamics in wild populations have not been investigated in detail. In comprehensive analyses of selection, heritability, and genetic correlations, we found evidence for an ISC over wing length, a key trait for flight performance and migration, in a long-term study of wild great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus). We found moderate sexual dimorphism, high heritability, moderate sexually antagonistic selection, and strong positive cross-sex genetic correlation in wing length, together supporting the presence of ISC. A negative genetic correlation between male wing length and female fitness indicated that females inheriting alleles for longer wings from their male relatives also inherited lower fitness. Moreover, cross-sex genetic correlations imposed constraint on the predicted microevolutionary trajectory of wing length (based on selection gradients), especially in females where the predicted response was reversed. The degree of sexual dimorphism in wing length did not change over time, suggesting no sign of conflict resolution. Our study provides novel insight into how an ISC over a fitness trait can affect microevolution in a wild population under natural selection.
    The American Naturalist 01/2014; 183(1):62-73. · 4.55 Impact Factor

Full-text (3 Sources)

View
32 Downloads
Available from
Jun 1, 2014