Higher rates of sex evolve under K-selection

Authors

  • L. Becks,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of General Ecology, Zoological Institute, Centre for Biological Sciences, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany
    Current affiliation:
    1. Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, Germany
    • Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • A. F. Agrawal

    1. Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author

Correspondence: Lutz Becks, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3B2, Canada. Tel.: (+49) 4522 763 230; fax: (+49) 4522 763 351;e-mail: lbecks@evolbio.mpg.de

Abstract

The geographical distribution of sexual and related asexual species has been suggested to correlate with habitat stability; sexual species tend to be in stable habitats (K-selection), whereas related asexual taxa tend to be in unstable habitats (r-selection). We test whether this broad-scale pattern can be re-created at a microevolutionary scale by experimentally evolving populations of facultatively sexual rotifers under different ecological conditions. Consistent with the pattern in nature, we find that the rate of sex evolves to lower levels in the r-selected than in K-selection environments. We consider several different explanations for these results.

Ancillary