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Niche breadth in clonal and sexual fish (Poeciliopsis): a test of the frozen niche variation model

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The evolution and subsequent maintenance of sex has been debated for many years, and there are numerous aspects that remain poorly understood. When comparing sexual with asexual reproduction, there are many more apparent benefits to being asexual than sexual. The frozen niche variation (FNV) model describes how asexual clones can arise from a sexual population and how the two reproductive types can coexist. Herein we compared three sympatric populations of sexual and asexual fish (one sexual population, Poeciliopsis monacha, and two clonal populations, P. 2-monacha-lucida) to test the assumption of the FNV model that sexual populations have a broader dietary niche (as measured by gut contents analysis) than clonal populations. Individual sexual fish had similar dietary breadth when compared with clonal individuals. However, dietary breadth for sexual populations as a whole was broader than for either clonal population, indicating differences in between-individual dietary choice. Our results support the primary assumption of the FNV model and thereby provide a possible explanation for the maintenance of sexual reproduction in this clonal–sexual complex.

L'origine et le maintien de la sexualité font l'objet de débats depuis de nombreuses années et il y a plusieurs aspects de la question qui sont encore mal compris. Il semble y avoir beaucoup plus d'avantages à la reproduction asexuée qu'à la reproduction sexuée. L'hypothèse du gel de la variation de la niche (FNV, « Frozen Niche Variation ») illustre comment des clones asexués peuvent surgir de populations sexuées et comment les deux types de reproduction peuvent coexister. On trouvera ici une comparaison de trois populations sympatriques de poissons sexués et asexués (une population sexuée, Poeciliopsis monacha, et deux populations clonales, P. 2-monacha-lucida) qui vise à vérifier les présuppositions du modèle FNV selon lesquelles la niche alimentaire des populations sexuées (mesurée par l'analyse du contenu du tube digestif) est plus étendue que celle des populations clonales. Les individus sexués ont une étendue de niche alimentaire semblable à celle des individus clonaux. Cependant, l'étendue de la niche de la population sexuée considérée dans son ensemble est plus grande que celles de l'une ou de l'autre des populations clonales, ce qui indique qu'il y a des différences de choix alimentaires entre les individus. Nos résultats sont en accord avec la présupposition fondamentale du modèle FNV et ils fournissent donc une explication possible au maintien de la reproduction sexuée dans ce complexe sexué–clonal.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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