THE EFFECTS OF PREDATION RISK ON MATING SYSTEM EXPRESSION IN A FRESHWATER SNAIL

Authors

  • Josh R. Auld

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, 4249 5th Ave., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260
    2. E-mail: josh.auld@nescent.org
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    • Present address: National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), 2024 W. Main St., Suite A200, Durham, North Carolina 27705.


Abstract

Environmental effects on mating system expression are central to understanding mating system evolution in nature. Here, I report the results from a quantitative-genetic experiment aimed at understanding the role of predation risk in the expression and evolution of life-history and mating-system traits in a hermaphroditic freshwater snail (Physa acuta). I reared 30 full-sib families in four environments that factorially contrast predation risk and mate availability and measured age/size at first reproduction, growth rate, a morphological defense, and the early survival of outcrossed/selfed eggs that were laid under predator/no-predator conditions. I evaluated the genetic basis of trade-offs among traits and the stability of the G matrix across environments. Mating reduced growth while predation risk increased growth, but the effects of mating were weaker for predator-induced snails and the effects of predation risk were weaker for snails without mates. Predation risk reduced the amount of time that individuals waited before self-fertilizing and reduced inbreeding depression in the offspring. There was a positive among-family relationship between the amount of time that individuals delayed selfing under predation risk and the magnitude of inbreeding depression. These results highlight several potential roles of enemies in mating-system expression and evolution.

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