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Evolutionary perspective Antagonistic coevolution under sexual conflict
 

Summary: Evolutionary perspective
Antagonistic coevolution under sexual conflict
ROGER HAĻ RDLING* and HENRIK G. SMITH
Department of Animal Ecology, Ecology Building, Lund University, 223 62 Lund, Sweden
(*author for correspondence, tel.: +46-46-222-7926; fax: +46-46-222-4716;
e-mail: roger.hardling@zooekol.lu.se)
Received 19 April 2004; Accepted 11 August 2004
Co-ordinating editors: J. Tuomi and H.G. Smith
Abstract. The theory of sexual conflict predicts that sexual coevolution will be very dynamic, with
in principle perpetual evolutionary arms races and chases. These arms races are expected to stop
once the costs of conflict adaptations become too high. We argue that this prediction is contingent
on specific assumptions about the sexual interaction and the adaptations involved in the arms race.
More generally, evolutionary arms races stop when the fitness benefit of further escalations is
outweighed by the fitness costs. For this it is not necessary that the absolute costs of conflict must
be high at the stable state, or that the population fitness must be decreased at equilibrium. We
expect the outcome of sexual antagonistic coevolution to be determined by the possibility to reach
compromises and by the relative ability of each sex to control the outcome of the interaction. We
exemplify with a theoretical conflict model, which leads to population extinction when conflict is
settled by armaments with expression-level determined costs. The model predicts a compromise
with small conflict costs for the population, if costs are in addition determined by the extent of

  

Source: Agrell, Jep - Department of Ecology, Lunds Universitet

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology