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Proc Biol Sci. 2004 Nov 22;271(1555):2361-5.

Water turbidity by algal blooms causes mating system breakdown in a shallow-water fish, the sand goby Pomatoschistus minutus.

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1
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, PO Box 65, 00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Abstract

Eutrophication as a result of human activity has resulted in increased algal blooms and turbidity in aquatic environments. We investigated experimentally the effect of algal turbidity on the mating system and sexual selection in the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas), a marine fish with a resource-defence mating system and paternal care. Owing to male-male competition and female choice, large males can monopolize multiple mates, while some males do not achieve mating at all. We show that the number of eggs laid was the same in both turbid and clear tanks but that mating success was more evenly distributed among males in turbid than in clear water. The opportunity for sexual selection was lower in turbid conditions. In turbid conditions mating success was less skewed towards large males. Our results suggest that increased turbidity can change mating systems and decrease the opportunity for sexual selection as well as selection intensity.

PMID:
15556888
PMCID:
PMC1691863
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2004.2870
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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