Abstract Detail

Sexual selection in flowering plants: traits, processes, and estimation

Chang, Shumei [1].

Sexual selection in flowering plants: traits, processes, and estimation.

Abstract/Synopsis:      Sexual selection has been very successful in explaining the evolution of exaggerated sexual traits in male animals. The application of this mechanism to explain selection of reproductive traits in plants, however, was initially met with skepticism. During 1980’s, investigations into whether sexual selection acted in plants determined that the key components of sexual selection – male-male competition (intra-sexual selection) and female choice (inter-sexual selection) - are likely to operate in flowering plants. It is now generally accepted that sexual selection can shape the evolution of floral traits, even in hermaphroditic species that simultaneously express both male and female functions. However, sexual selection is still rarely used to help explain reproductive traits and mating success in plants compared to in the animal literature. This colloquium will examine the influence of sexual selection on angiosperm reproduction in three areas. 1)    Intra-sexual (male-male) competition: Male-male competition can occur after pollination when pollen grains from multiple individuals are brought to the same stigma and compete for access to the ovules as well as indirectly via competition for pollinators during the pre-pollination stage. Recent work examining traits that can potentially influence competition among pollen-producing individuals will be highlighted. 2)Inter-sexual selection (Female choice): Female choice is most likely to occur within the style and the ovary. Recent advances using genomic approaches have begun to identify some of the genetic markers that correlate with female choices in flowering plants. 3)Estimation of sexual selection: In addition to directly measuring for the strength of selection via intra- and inter-sexual competition, recent work has shown that sexual selection can also be estimated using indirect methods based on the pattern of correlated paternity. By discussing examples and methods on how sexual selection operates in flowering plants, this colloquium will highlight the benefit of studying angiosperm reproduction in the sexual selection framework. We also aim to stimulate discussions on the role that sexual selection may have played in the evolution of reproductive traits in angiosperms.   Relevance: The subdiscipline of how sexual selection influences trait evolution is a very vibrant field in the animal literature with symposia on this topic organized annually and in various locations. Consideration of sexual selection in plants has been slow to take off, partly for historical reasons. However, it is increasingly recognized that many of the reproductive processes seen in outcrossing flowering plants parallel those of outcrossing animals, such as pollen competition and interactions with stylar tissues compared to sperm competition and interactions with the female reproductive track. New genetic and mathematical methods developed in the past decades make this an opportune time to hold another conference that highlights sexual selection in plants. With an organized series of speakers illustrating how sexual selection can be studied emphasizing traits, processes, or estimation, this colloquium will reenergize this classical but somewhat neglected idea that can link plant and animal literatures. The American Journal of Botany editorial office is interested in publishing a special issue on this topic.

1 - University Of Georgia, Plant Biology Department, 2502 Plant Sciences Bldg, Athens, GA, 30602, United States

Sexual selection
Male-Male competition
Female Choice.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Abstract ID:30
Candidate for Awards:None

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