Females increase current reproductive effort when future access to males is uncertain

KU Heubel, Kai Lindström, H Kokko

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)


    Trade-offs between current and future reproduction shape life histories of organisms, e.g. increased mortality selects for earlier reproductive effort, and mate limitation has been shown to shape male life histories. Here, we show that female life histories respond adaptively to mate limitation. Female common gobies (Pomatoschistus microps) respond to a female-biased operational sex ratio by strongly increasing the size of their first clutch. The plastic response is predicted by a model that assumes that females use the current competitive situation to predict future difficulties of securing a mating. Because female clutch size decisions are much more closely linked to population dynamics than male life-history traits, plastic responses to mate-finding limitations may be an underappreciated force in population dynamics.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)224–227
    Number of pages4
    JournalBiology Letters
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • clutch size
    • female-female competition
    • life history
    • offspring allocation
    • operational sex ratio

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