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A conceptual review of mate choice: stochastic demography, within-sex phenotypic plasticity, and individual flexibility
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies. Uppsala University, Sweden; University of California, USA.
Number of Authors: 2
2016 (English)In: Ecology and Evolution, ISSN 2045-7758, E-ISSN 2045-7758, Vol. 6, no 14, 4607-4642 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Mate choice hypotheses usually focus on trait variation of chosen individuals. Recently, mate choice studies have increasingly attended to the environmental circumstances affecting variation in choosers' behavior and choosers' traits. We reviewed the literature on phenotypic plasticity in mate choice with the goal of exploring whether phenotypic plasticity can be interpreted as individual flexibility in the context of the switch point theorem, SPT (Gowaty and Hubbell ). We found >3000 studies; 198 were empirical studies of within-sex phenotypic plasticity, and sixteen showed no evidence of mate choice plasticity. Most studies reported changes from choosy to indiscriminate behavior of subjects. Investigators attributed changes to one or more causes including operational sex ratio, adult sex ratio, potential reproductive rate, predation risk, disease risk, chooser's mating experience, chooser's age, chooser's condition, or chooser's resources. The studies together indicate that choosiness of potential mates is environmentally and socially labile, that is, induced - not fixed - in the choosy sex with results consistent with choosers' intrinsic characteristics or their ecological circumstances mattering more to mate choice than the traits of potential mates. We show that plasticity-associated variables factor into the simpler SPT variables. We propose that it is time to complete the move from questions about within-sex plasticity in the choosy sex to between- and within-individual flexibility in reproductive decision-making of both sexes simultaneously. Currently, unanswered empirical questions are about the force of alternative constraints and opportunities as inducers of individual flexibility in reproductive decision-making, and the ecological, social, and developmental sources of similarities and differences between individuals. To make progress, we need studies (1) of simultaneous and symmetric attention to individual mate preferences and subsequent behavior in both sexes, (2) controlled for within-individual variation in choice behavior as demography changes, and which (3) report effects on fitness from movement of individual's switch points.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 6, no 14, 4607-4642 p.
Keyword [en]
Adaptive flexibility, choosy, genetic complementarity, indiscriminate, mate choice, OSR, parasite load, switch point theorem
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-133233DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2197ISI: 000380033400002PubMedID: 27547301OAI: diva2:968126
Available from: 2016-09-12 Created: 2016-09-05 Last updated: 2016-09-12Bibliographically approved

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Ah-King, Malin
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