Habitat heterogeneity favors asexual reproduction in natural populations of grassthrips

Lavanchy, Guillaume; Strehler, Marie; Llanos Roman, Maria Noemi; Lessard-Therrien, Malie; Humbert, Jean-Yves; , ; Jalvingh, Kirsten; Ghali, Karim; García-Cuenca, Amaranta Fontcuberta; Zijlstra, Bart; Arlettaz, Raphaël; Schwander, Tanja (2016). Habitat heterogeneity favors asexual reproduction in natural populations of grassthrips. Evolution, 70(8), pp. 1780-1790. Wiley 10.1111/evo.12990

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Explaining the overwhelming success of sex among eukaryotes is difficult given the obvious costs of sex relative to asexuality. Different studies have shown that sex can provide benefits in spatially heterogeneous environments under specific conditions, but whether spatial heterogeneity commonly contributes to the maintenance of sex in natural populations remains unknown. We experimentally manipulated habitat heterogeneity for sexual and asexual thrips lineages in natural populations and under seminatural mesocosm conditions by varying the number of hostplants available to these herbivorous insects. Asexual lineages rapidly replaced the sexual ones, independently of the level of habitat heterogeneity in mesocosms. In natural populations, the success of sexual thrips decreased with increasing habitat heterogeneity, with sexual thrips apparently only persisting in certain types of hostplant communities. Our results illustrate how genetic diversity-based mechanisms can favor asexuality instead of sex when sexual lineages co-occur with genetically variable asexual lineages.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Lessard-Therrien, Malie; Humbert, Jean-Yves and Arlettaz, Raphaël

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

0014-3820

Publisher:

Wiley

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

12 Jul 2017 09:22

Last Modified:

12 Jul 2017 09:22

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/evo.12990

PubMed ID:

27346066

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.93829

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/93829

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