Evol Ecol Res 4: 351-369 (2002)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Niche shifts and expansion due to sexual selection

Stephen R. Proulx*

Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, 25 Harbord Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G5, Canada

Address all correspondence to Stephen R. Proulx, Department of Biology, 1210 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA.
e-mail: proulx@proulxresearch.org


Several theoretical studies have shown that niche breadth evolution is weighted by gene flow and selection pressures to maintain adaptation within the current niche. However, these studies have assumed that mating pairs form at random within demes. I extend previous models to include sexual selection and find that non-random mating can alter the likelihood of niche expansion in mainland/island structured populations. Under random mating, an allele that improves fitness on the island will only spread if individuals are more than compensated in island fitness for any loss of mainland fitness. In contrast, under sexual selection, an island-adapted allele can spread even when it causes a complete loss of fitness on the mainland.

Keywords: evolution, mating systems, niche breadth, sexual selection.

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