The evolution of age-dependent sexual signals Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
Creator
  • Adamson, Joel
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology
Abstract
  • Sexual selection theory seeks to explain the evolution of female mate preferences, especially costly preferences. Most studies of the effects of life-history on sexual selection have focused on age as an indicator mechanism, where older males indicate superior fitness by their survival. Few studies have questioned conditions for the evolution of age-dependent traits. I conducted a numerical simulation of indicator traits that depend on age. Age-dependent traits tend to evolve under weaker selection than age-independent traits. Age-independent traits evolved regardless of the intensity of selection at large size, whereas size negatively affected evolution of age-independent traits. When age-dependent and age-independent mutants occurred in the same population, age-dependence predominated at weaker selection. Age-dependence allows sexual signals to evolve at smaller sizes and thus facilitates evolution trait-preference systems. Age-dependence also provides a mechanism for age to act as an indicator. Lengthening the lifespan enables sexual selection, leading to exaggeration of traits and evolution of preferences.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Servedio, Maria
  • Wiley, R. Haven
  • Kingsolver, Joel
Degree
  • Master of Science
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
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