SREL Reprint #1948

 

 

 

 

Comparisons of life-history traits between clonal and sexual fish (Poeciliopsis: Poeciliidae) raised in monoculture and mixed treatments

STEPHEN C. WEEKS
Center for Theoretical and Applied Genetics, PO Box 231, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08903, USA

Summary

Clonal and sexual co-existence is common in a number of vertebrate taxa, even though the 'cost of sex' makes such co-existence theoretically unlikely. The frozen niche-variation (FNV) model explains this coexistence on the basis of differences in overall niche breadth and competition between clones and sexuals. In the present study I examined two predictions of the FNV model. First, I examined the prediction that genetically variable populations have higher relative fitness when compared with monoclonal populations by comparing the performances of clonal and outcrossed sexual strains of Poeciliopsis in monocultures at two densities. The prediction of increased overall productivity for the sexuals was verified, with net reproductive rates for the sexuals being between two and four times as high as the clones. Second, I tested the prediction that derived clones will successfully compete with their sexual progenitor(s) in the narrow range to which the clones are adapted, while the sexuals should co-exist because of their ability to use a wider range of resources than any single clone. I examined this prediction by comparing performance variables (e.g. growth, fecundity and survival) of each strain in pure culture with their partitioned performance from the mixed treatments. Clonal performance increased in mixtures compared to monocultures, as expected. However, the expectation that the sexual's performance would be less affected by mixtures than the clones' performance, was not met. The sexuals had reduced growth and fecundity on a par with the increase in both variables in the clones. Therefore, support for the FNV model was mixed. Although the performance in monocultures suggests that the sexuals have a wider niche breadth than the clones, performances in mixtures do not indicate such a relationship. Switching of behaviours or resource-use patterns between mixed and pure cultures may have caused the equivocal results.

Keywords: maintenance of sex, unisexual reproduction; frozen niche-variation model; growth, survival and reproduction

SREL Reprint #1948

Weeks, S.C. 1995. Comparisons of life-history traits between clonal and sexual fish (Poeciliopsis: Poeciliidae) raised in monoculture and mixed treatments. Evolutionary Ecology 9:258-274.

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