Much of the contemporary study of adaptation in natural populations involves the regression of some component of fitness, usually survivorship or viability, on one or more characters of interest. It is difficult to apply this approach to measures of paternal reproduction, however, because paternity is typically estimated indirectly from genetic markers, rather than being measured directly from progeny counts. Here, we present maximum likelihood methods for modelling relative male reproductive success as a log-linear function of one or more potentially predictive features, as well as providing a framework for the assessment of pairwise (male:female) effects, as they affect male reproductive performance. We also provide nonparametric statistical tests for alternative models.
Using this formulation, we examine the impact of inflorescence morphology on male reproductive success in Chamaelirium luteum L., and we also assess the importance of intermate distances between males and particular females. While male reproductive success and male inflorescence morphology are both quite variable, reproductive morphology does not appear to predict male reproductive success in this study. Intermate distance is an extremely effective predictor of pairwise success, however; but averaged over females, there is almost no net effect for different males.