Microsatellite profiles of the genetic mating systems and reproductive natural histories of some fascinating fishes and turtles

John Avise, Ph.D.
University of Georgia

Wednesday, May 16, 2001
3:00 p.m.–Pacific Forum

The diverse breeding behaviors of fish make this taxonomic group valuable for testing theories on the ecology and evolution of genetic mating systems and alternative reproductive tactics.

We have made DNA-level appraisals of paternity and maternity in wild fish populations and integrated the molecular data with natural history information. Behavioral phenomena unveiled and quantified in various species by the genetic markers include: multiple mating by either or both genders; frequent cuckoldry by males and occasional cuckoldry by females in nest-tending species; additional routes to surrogate parentage via nest piracy and egg-thievery; sperm storage by dams in female-pregnant species; and enhanced sexual selection on females and extreme polyandry in some male-pregnant species. Additional natural-history phenomena and estimation procedures that have emerged from genetic parentage analyses in fishes include the study of clustered mutations of pre-meiotic origin, filial cannibalism, and appraisals of local population size.

All of these novel classes of results will be discussed in the context of relevant behavioral and evolutionary theory.

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