Dec 17, 2014

Under what conditions do climate-driven sex ratios enhance versus diminish population persistence?

Ecology and Evolution
Maria BoyleArthur Georges


For many species of reptile, crucial demographic parameters such as embryonic survival and individual sex (male or female) depend on ambient temperature during incubation. While much has been made of the role of climate on offspring sex ratios in species with temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), the impact of variable sex ratio on populations is likely to depend on how limiting male numbers are to female fecundity in female-biased populations, and whether a climatic effect on embryonic survival overwhelms or interacts with sex ratio. To examine the sensitivity of populations to these interacting factors, we developed a generalized model to explore the effects of embryonic survival, hatchling sex ratio, and the interaction between these, on population size and persistence while varying the levels of male limitation. Populations with TSD reached a greater maximum number of females compared to populations with GSD, although this was often associated with a narrower range of persistence. When survival depended on temperature, TSD populations persisted over a greater range of temperatures than GSD populations. This benefit of TSD was greatly reduced by even modest male limitation, indicating very strong importance of this ...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Cessation of Life
Sex Determination Analysis
Sex Determination
Biological Factors

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