Evol Ecol Res 18: 503-513 (2017)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

The ecology of non-ecological diversification: how non-sexual selection affects within-environment diversification via sexual conflict

Devin Arbuthnott

Department of Zoology and Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Correspondence: D. Arbuthnott, Department of Zoology and Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 4200–6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
e-mail: darbuthnott@gmail.com


Background: Sexual conflict is a pervasive force in nature that can instigate intersexual co-evolutionary arms races, potentially speeding processes of trait diversification and speciation, even in a constant environment.

Hypothesis: Sexual conflict interacts with ecology to influence the extent of sexual trait diversification among isolated populations. Specifically, trait diversification among ecologically similar populations is maximized under intermediate amounts of non-sexual selective pressure.

Features of model: I performed individual-based computer simulations of sexual conflict over mating rate to produce replicate populations that adapted to the same environment. I varied the strength of non-sexual natural selection, and measured the extent of within-environment diversification in sexual traits among populations.

Conclusions: Over short time scales (10,000 generations), sexual trait divergence among populations adapted to the same environment is maximized under intermediate amounts of selective pressure.

Keywords: mutation-order speciation, natural selection, sexually antagonistic co-evolution, sexual selection.

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