Influence of density and major histocompatibility genotype on sexual selection in a salmonid alternative mating strategy

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Abstract:

Various mechanisms of sexual selection can occur at both the whole organism and gamete levels. Fertilization success in salmonid fishes is largely determined by behavioural competition within and between “fighter” and “sneaker” male strategies, but is also influenced by interactions among gametes. We investigated the influence of density, fighter male presence, and major histocompatibility (MH) genotype on patterns of fertilization success in sneaker Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). At low density and in the absence of fighter males, monopolization by single sneaker males occurred, suggesting that male–male competition was the main determinant of fertilization success. By contrast, at high density and (or) in the presence of fighter males, several sneakers succeeded in fertilizing eggs. Our study, the first to investigate the role of MH-mediated fertilization for a genetically based alternative male mating strategy, suggests that a larger proportion of eggs were fertilized by sneakers whose MH genotypes were more similar to those of the female than expected by chance. These findings highlight the importance of examining sexual selection under different competitive conditions.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/f2012-007

Affiliations: 1: Biology Department, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada. 2: Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research and the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada.

Publication date: April 16, 2012

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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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