Evol Ecol Res 10: 177-196 (2008)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

How does selection operate on whole-organism functional performance capacities? A review and synthesis

Duncan J. Irschick,1* Jerry J. Meyers,1 Jerry F. Husak1,2 and Jean-François Le Galliard3

1Department of Biology, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Program, University of Massachusetts, 221 Morrill Science Center, Amherst, MA 01003, USA,  2Department of Biology, Virginia Tech, 2119 Derring Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA and  3CNRS, UMR 7625, Laboratoire Fonctionnement et évolution des systèmes écologiques, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 7 Quai St, Bernard, 75005 Paris, France

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: irschick@bio.umass.edu


Hypothesis: Natural and sexual selection should be stronger on whole-organism functional performance traits (sprinting, biting) than on correlated morphological variables.

Organisms: Lizards, snakes, turtles, frogs, and fish (review of past field and laboratory studies).

Field sites: Various (review of past field and laboratory studies).

Methods: We reviewed existing literature on the nature and intensity of natural and sexual selection on whole-organism performance traits. We answer some key questions in regards to how selection operates on performance, and whether selection is stronger on performance compared with morphological traits.

Results: We identified 23 studies that have quantified selection on performance. Natural and sexual selection were typically directional in nature, with a distinct preference for high rather than low values of performance. However, some studies uncovered no significant selection on performance, and there was also no evidence that selection was stronger on performance traits than morphological traits.

Keywords: ecology, evolution, locomotion, performance selection.

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