Water turbidity constrains male mating success in a marine fish

Marja Järvenpää, Beatriz Diaz Pauli, Kai Lindström

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7 Citations (Scopus)
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Human-induced eutrophication, resulting in increased algal growth and water turbidity, is an alarming problem in aquatic systems. Many studies have focused on the effects of algal turbidity on mate choice and sexual selection in fish, but little emphasis has been given to the ways it can constrain mating success. Here we experimentally investigated the effects of algal turbidity on maximum male mating success and parental care in the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus, a fish with a resource-defence mating system and male parental care. For this purpose, we introduced to 1 nest-holding male 5 random-sized ripe females in either clear or in turbid water. After spawning, we observed how many mates and eggs the male received and followed his parental behaviour and egg survival for 6 days under turbid or clear water conditions. When spawning took place in clear water, the number of eggs the male received into his nest increased with the total weight of five females in his tank. However, when spawning took place in turbid water, there was no relationship between female size and the number of eggs laid, although the number of females that spawned was the same as in clear water. The results indicate that females adjust the number of eggs they lay according to water turbidity. This could explain previous findings that mating success is more evenly distributed among males in turbid than clear water conditions.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number140
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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