Frequency and density-dependent selection on life-history strategies - A field experiment

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Abstract

Negative frequency-dependence, which favors rare genotypes, promotes the maintenance of genetic variability and is of interest as a potential explanation for genetic differentiation. Density-dependent selection may also promote cyclic changes in frequencies of genotypes. Here we show evidence for both density-dependent and negative frequency-dependent selection on opposite life-history tactics (low or high reproductive effort, RE) in the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). Density-dependent selection was evident among the females with low RE, which were especially favored in low densities. Instead, both negative frequency-dependent and density-dependent selection were shown in females with high RE, which were most successful when they were rare in high densities. Furthermore, selection at the individual level affected the frequencies of tactics at the population level, so that the frequency of the rare high RE tactic increased significantly at high densities. We hypothesize that these two selection mechanisms (density- and negative frequency-dependent selection) may promote genetic variability in cyclic mammal populations. Nevertheless, it remains to be determined whether the origin of genetic variance in life-history traits is causally related to density variation (e.g. population cycles). Copyright: © 2008 Mappes et al.

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Mappes, T., Koivula, M., Koskela, E., Oksanen, T. A., Savolainen, T., & Sinervo, B. (2008). Frequency and density-dependent selection on life-history strategies - A field experiment. PLoS ONE, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0001687

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