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Dietary carotenoid availability, sexual signalling and functional fertility in sticklebacks.

Pike TW, Blount JD, Lindström J, Metcalfe NB - Biol. Lett. (2009)

Bottom Line: In species where males express carotenoid-based sexual signals, more intensely coloured males may be signalling their enhanced ability to combat oxidative stress.Using a split-clutch in vitro fertilization technique and dietary carotenoid manipulation, we demonstrate that in non-competitive fertilization assays, male three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) that are fed higher (but biologically relevant) levels of carotenoids had a significantly increased fertilization success, irrespective of maternal carotenoid intake.Furthermore, within diet groups, a male's fertilization success was positively related to the expression of his carotenoid-based nuptial coloration, with more intensely coloured males having higher functional fertility.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Graham Kerr Building, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK. t.pike@exeter.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
In species where males express carotenoid-based sexual signals, more intensely coloured males may be signalling their enhanced ability to combat oxidative stress. This may include mitigating deleterious oxidative damage to their sperm, and so be directly related to their functional fertility. Using a split-clutch in vitro fertilization technique and dietary carotenoid manipulation, we demonstrate that in non-competitive fertilization assays, male three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) that are fed higher (but biologically relevant) levels of carotenoids had a significantly increased fertilization success, irrespective of maternal carotenoid intake. Furthermore, within diet groups, a male's fertilization success was positively related to the expression of his carotenoid-based nuptial coloration, with more intensely coloured males having higher functional fertility. These data provide, to our knowledge, the first demonstration that dietary access to carotenoids influences fertilization success, and suggest that females could use a male's nuptial coloration as an indicator of his functional fertility.

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The relationship between sexual signal chroma and functional fertility (percentage of fertilized eggs) in males on high- (black points, solid line) and low-carotenoid (white points, dashed line) diet treatments. Least-squares regression lines are shown.
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RSBL20090815F1: The relationship between sexual signal chroma and functional fertility (percentage of fertilized eggs) in males on high- (black points, solid line) and low-carotenoid (white points, dashed line) diet treatments. Least-squares regression lines are shown.

Mentions: Male sticklebacks fed with high levels of carotenoids had a significantly higher functional fertility than those fed with lower carotenoid levels (linear mixed-effects model, F1,17 = 6.73, p = 0.019; figure 1), independent of maternal carotenoid intake (F1,17 = 0.99, p = 0.33) or male body condition (F1,17 = 0.02, p = 0.90). Moreover, the chroma of a male's sexual ornamentation was significantly positively related to functional fertility (F1,17 = 7.03, p = 0.017; figure 1), with males expressing more intense regions of nuptial coloration, in both diet treatment groups, fertilizing a greater proportion of eggs. Chroma also differed significantly between males on the two diet treatments (two-sample t-test, t38 = 3.21, p = 0.003); with low-carotenoid diet males actually developing more intense coloration than males on the high-carotenoid diet (figure 1). Body condition did not differ between treatment groups (mean ± s.e.: high, 14.1 ± 1.14; low, 12.8 ± 0.95; two-sample t-test, t38 = 0.91, p = 0.37).


Dietary carotenoid availability, sexual signalling and functional fertility in sticklebacks.

Pike TW, Blount JD, Lindström J, Metcalfe NB - Biol. Lett. (2009)

The relationship between sexual signal chroma and functional fertility (percentage of fertilized eggs) in males on high- (black points, solid line) and low-carotenoid (white points, dashed line) diet treatments. Least-squares regression lines are shown.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2865065&req=5

RSBL20090815F1: The relationship between sexual signal chroma and functional fertility (percentage of fertilized eggs) in males on high- (black points, solid line) and low-carotenoid (white points, dashed line) diet treatments. Least-squares regression lines are shown.
Mentions: Male sticklebacks fed with high levels of carotenoids had a significantly higher functional fertility than those fed with lower carotenoid levels (linear mixed-effects model, F1,17 = 6.73, p = 0.019; figure 1), independent of maternal carotenoid intake (F1,17 = 0.99, p = 0.33) or male body condition (F1,17 = 0.02, p = 0.90). Moreover, the chroma of a male's sexual ornamentation was significantly positively related to functional fertility (F1,17 = 7.03, p = 0.017; figure 1), with males expressing more intense regions of nuptial coloration, in both diet treatment groups, fertilizing a greater proportion of eggs. Chroma also differed significantly between males on the two diet treatments (two-sample t-test, t38 = 3.21, p = 0.003); with low-carotenoid diet males actually developing more intense coloration than males on the high-carotenoid diet (figure 1). Body condition did not differ between treatment groups (mean ± s.e.: high, 14.1 ± 1.14; low, 12.8 ± 0.95; two-sample t-test, t38 = 0.91, p = 0.37).

Bottom Line: In species where males express carotenoid-based sexual signals, more intensely coloured males may be signalling their enhanced ability to combat oxidative stress.Using a split-clutch in vitro fertilization technique and dietary carotenoid manipulation, we demonstrate that in non-competitive fertilization assays, male three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) that are fed higher (but biologically relevant) levels of carotenoids had a significantly increased fertilization success, irrespective of maternal carotenoid intake.Furthermore, within diet groups, a male's fertilization success was positively related to the expression of his carotenoid-based nuptial coloration, with more intensely coloured males having higher functional fertility.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Graham Kerr Building, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK. t.pike@exeter.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
In species where males express carotenoid-based sexual signals, more intensely coloured males may be signalling their enhanced ability to combat oxidative stress. This may include mitigating deleterious oxidative damage to their sperm, and so be directly related to their functional fertility. Using a split-clutch in vitro fertilization technique and dietary carotenoid manipulation, we demonstrate that in non-competitive fertilization assays, male three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) that are fed higher (but biologically relevant) levels of carotenoids had a significantly increased fertilization success, irrespective of maternal carotenoid intake. Furthermore, within diet groups, a male's fertilization success was positively related to the expression of his carotenoid-based nuptial coloration, with more intensely coloured males having higher functional fertility. These data provide, to our knowledge, the first demonstration that dietary access to carotenoids influences fertilization success, and suggest that females could use a male's nuptial coloration as an indicator of his functional fertility.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus