Send to

Choose Destination
Am Nat. 2011 Aug;178(2):256-68. doi: 10.1086/660826.

Inconsistency between different measures of sexual selection.

Author information

Department of Ecology and Evolution (DEE), University of Lausanne, Biophore, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Measuring the intensity of sexual selection is of fundamental importance to the study of sexual dimorphism, population dynamics, and speciation. Several indices, pools of individuals, and fitness proxies are used in the literature, yet their relative performances are strongly debated. Using 12 independent common lizard populations, we manipulated the adult sex ratio, a potentially important determinant of the intensity of sexual selection at a particular time and place. We investigated differences in the intensity of sexual selection, as estimated using three standard indices of sexual selection-the standardized selection gradient (β'), the opportunity of selection (I), and the Bateman gradient (βss)--calculated for different pools of individuals and different fitness proxies. We show that results based on estimates of I were the opposite of those derived from the other indices, whereas results based on estimates of β' were consistent with predictions derived from knowledge about the species' mating system. In addition, our estimates of the strength and direction of sexual selection depended on both the fitness proxy used and the pool of individuals included in the analysis. These observations demonstrate inconsistencies in distinct measures of sexual selection and underscore the need for caution when comparing studies and species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for University of Chicago Press
Loading ...
Support Center