Abstracts (first author)
The ecology of sexual conflict: parallel evolution of male harm and female resistance in experimental populations of Drosophila melanogasterPDF
Sexual conflict arises when divergent reproductive strategies of males and females generate sexually antagonistic selection that can have large impacts on mortality and reproductive output of both sexes. Sexually antagonistic selection is also recognized as an important driver of divergence and speciation, as male-female arms races may escalate in different phenotypic dimensions in separate populations, even in the absence of environmental differences. However, ecology can have large impacts on the evolution of sexual traits, and can even promote their parallel evolution. Environmental selection may therefore constrain the pathways of sexually antagonistic coevolution, although ecology has not previously been considered in investigations of sexual conflict. We provide some of the first evidence illustrating the importance of environmental selection on sexual conflict, using experimental populations of Drosophila melanogaster adapted to two different environments. Contrary to previous theory, we find no evidence that females have highest resistance to the harm of coevolved males. However, we do find evidence for parallel evolution of male harm and female resistance to male harm, as measured through female lifespan and senescence rates, associated with adaptation to these alternative environments, suggesting that sexual conflict may be predictable based on ecology. Ecologically-induced parallel evolution of traits under sexual conflict may have large impacts on how populations adapt to new environments, and how new species are formed, and ecology must therefore be integrated into considerations of sexually antagonistic coevolution.