Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Local gamete competition explains sex allocation and fertilization strategies in the sea

Citation

Henshaw, Jonathan M.; Marshall, Dustin J.; Jennions, Michael D.; Kokko, Hanna (2014), Data from: Local gamete competition explains sex allocation and fertilization strategies in the sea, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1mp91

Abstract

Within and across taxa, there is much variation in the mode of fertilization, i.e. whether eggs and/or sperm are released or kept inside or on the surface of the parent's body. Although the evolutionary consequences of fertilization mode are far reaching, transitions in the fertilization mode itself have largely escaped theoretical attention. Here we develop the first evolutionary model of egg retention and release, which also considers transitions between hermaphroditism and dioecy as well as egg size evolution. We provide a unifying explanation for reported associations between small body size, hermaphroditism, and egg retention in marine invertebrates that have puzzled researchers for over three decades. Our model, by including sperm limitation, shows that all these patterns can arise as an evolutionary response to local competition between eggs for fertilization. This can provide a general explanation for three empirical patterns: Sperm casters tend to be smaller than related broadcast spawners, hermaphroditism is disproportionately common in sperm casters, and offspring of sperm casters are larger. Local gamete competition also explains a universal sexual asymmetry: females of some species retain their gametes while males release theirs, but the opposite ('egg casting') lacks evolutionary stability and is apparently not found in nature.

Usage Notes