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Sexual conflict and polyspermy under sperm-limited conditions : in situ evidence from field simulations with the free-spawning marine echinoid Evechinus chloroticus

Franke, E. S., Babcock, R. and Styan, Craig 2002, Sexual conflict and polyspermy under sperm-limited conditions : in situ evidence from field simulations with the free-spawning marine echinoid Evechinus chloroticus, American naturalist, vol. 160, no. 4, pp. 485-496, doi: 10.1086/342075.

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Title Sexual conflict and polyspermy under sperm-limited conditions : in situ evidence from field simulations with the free-spawning marine echinoid Evechinus chloroticus
Author(s) Franke, E. S.
Babcock, R.
Styan, Craig
Journal name American naturalist
Volume number 160
Issue number 4
Start page 485
End page 496
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Place of publication Chicago, Ill.
Publication date 2002-10
ISSN 0003-0147
1537-5323
Keyword(s) fertilization
broadcast spawning
echinoids
polyspermy
sexual conflict
Summary For free‐spawning organisms that release gametes into the sea, sperm limitation (too few sperm to fertilize all eggs) is a major factor limiting reproductive success. Given such circumstances, the presence of several mechanisms to prevent polyspermy (too many sperm) may seem paradoxical; however, a growing body of data suggests that natural fertilization levels, though variable, can routinely be high. Under such conditions, polyspermy is much more likely. The tension between sperm limitation and polyspermy represents sexual conflict because males, in competing to fertilize as many eggs as possible, can impose lethal costs on eggs if multiple sperm gain entry. Here we present data for a marine invertebrate indicating high levels of polyspermy under sperm‐limited conditions. When the sea urchin Evechinus chloroticus was induced to spawn in situ, mean rates of polyspermy were 17.3% ±3.4%, and polyspermy was recorded at rates as high as 62.7%. Polyspermy was nearly always present, even when fertilization rates were <50%, confirming predictions that it should be present under sperm‐limited conditions. Both sperm limitation and polyspermy imposed substantial reproductive costs, and we conclude that both sexual conflict related to polyspermy and sperm limitation have been simultaneous strong selective forces shaping the evolution of reproductive traits in the sea.
Language eng
DOI 10.1086/342075
Field of Research 060803 Animal Developmental and Reproductive Biology
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2002, University of Chicago
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30006627

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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