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Consequences of combining sex-specific life-history traits

By Vandana Revathi Venkateswaran, Olivia Roth, Chaitanya S Gokhale

Posted 03 Jan 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.01.03.892810

Males and females follow distinct life-history strategies that have co-evolved with several sex-specific traits. Higher investment into parental investment demands an increased lifespan. Thus, resource allocation towards an efficient immune system is mandatory. In contrast, resources allocated towards secondary sexual signals (ornamentation) may negatively correlate with investment into immunity and ultimately result in a shorter lifespan. Previous studies have addressed how resource allocation towards single sex-specific traits impacts lifetime reproductive success (LRS). However, the tradeoffs between diverse sex-specific characteristics and their impact on LRS remain largely unassessed impeding our understanding of life-history evolution. We have designed a theoretical framework (informed by experimental data and evolutionary genetics) that explores the effects of multiple sex-specific traits and assessed how they influence LRS. From the individual sex-specific traits, we inferred the consequences at the population level by evaluating adult sex ratios (ASR). Our theory implies that sex-specific resource allocation towards the assessed traits resulted in a biased ASR. Our model focuses on the impact of parental investment, ornamentation and immunity as causal to biased ASR. The framework developed herein can be employed to understand the combined impact of diverse sex-specific traits on the LRS and the eventual population dynamics of particular model systems.

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