Evol Ecol Res 4: 49-60 (2002)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Does sexual selection influence population trends in European birds?

Andreas Prinzing,1* Martin Brändle,1 Robert Pfeifer2 and Roland Brandl1

1Department of Community Ecology, UFZ – Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Theodor-Lieser-str. 4, D-06120 Halle/Saale and 2Dilchertstrasse 10, D-95444 Bayreuth, Germany

Address all correspondence to Andreas Prinzing, Institute of Zoology, Department V, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Becherweg 13, D-55099 Mainz, Germany.
e-mail: prinzing@oekologie.biologie.uni-mainz.de


Sexual selection may interact with anthropogenic impact and influence the population dynamics of bird species. First, there may be a trade-off between investment in traits under sexual selection and traits under natural selection. Thus, sexual selection may impede the response of species to anthropogenic changes of the natural selection regime within habitats. Second, sexual selection may reduce the effective population size. Thus, sexual selection may increase the risk of local extinction due to anthropogenic habitat fragmentation. We tested both hypotheses for Central European non-Passeriformes. We inferred sexual selection from sexual dimorphism of plumage and body size. These two surrogates of sexual selection were not correlated. We found no difference in the population trends between monomorphic and dimorphic species. Furthermore, we found no clear interaction between population size and the effect of dimorphism on population trends. We conclude that sexual selection had no negative effect on population trends.

Keywords: conservation, dimorphism, global change, macroecology, natural selection.

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