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Data from: Infection dynamics in coexisting sexual and asexual host populations: support for the Red Queen hypothesis

Citation

Vergara, Daniela; Jokela, Jukka; Lively, Curtis M. (2017), Data from: Infection dynamics in coexisting sexual and asexual host populations: support for the Red Queen hypothesis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.29nk3

Abstract

The persistence of sexual reproduction is a classic problem in evolutionary biology. The problem stems from the fact that, all else equal, asexual lineages should rapidly replace coexisting sexual individuals due to the cost of producing males in sexual populations. One possible countervailing advantage to sexual reproduction is that, on average, outcrossed offspring are more resistant than common clones to coevolving parasites, as predicted under the Red Queen hypothesis. In the present study, we evaluated the prevalence of infection by a sterilizing trematode (Microphallus sp.) in a natural population of freshwater snails that was composed of both sexual and asexual individuals (Potamopyrgus antipodarum). More specifically, we compared the frequency of infection in sexual and asexual individuals over a five-year period at four sites at a natural glacial lake (Lake Alexandrina, South Island, New Zealand). We found that at most sites and over most years, the sexual population was less infected than the coexisting asexual population. Moreover, the frequency of uninfected sexual females was periodically greater than two times the frequency of uninfected asexual females. These results give clear support for a fluctuating parasite-mediated advantage to sexual reproduction in a natural population.

Usage Notes

Location

New Zealand