Saturday, February 4, 2012

Matching, mate choice, and...speciation

Perspective: Matching, Mate Choice, and Speciation
Author(s): Puebla, O., Bermingham, E., Guichard, F.
Source: INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY  Volume: 51   Issue: 3   Pages: 485-491     SEP 2011

Abstract: Matching was developed in the 1960s to match such entities as residents and hospitals, colleges and students, or employers and employees. This approach is based on "preference lists," whereby each participant ranks potential partners according to his/her preferences and tries to match with the highest-ranking partner available. Here, we discuss the implications of matching for the study of mate choice and speciation. Matching differs from classic approaches in several respects, most notably because under this theoretical framework, the formation of mating pairs is context-dependant (i.e., it depends on the configuration of pairings in the entire population), because the stability of mating pairs is considered explicitly, and because mate choice is mutual. The use of matching to study mate choice and speciation is not merely a theoretical curiosity; its application can generate counter-intuitive predictions and lead to conclusions that differ fundamentally from classic theories about sexual selection and speciation. For example, it predicts that when mate choice is mutual and the stability of mating pairs is critical for successful reproduction, sympatric speciation is a robust evolutionary outcome. Yet the application of matching to the study of mate choice and speciation has been largely dominated by theoretical studies. We present the hamlets, a group of brightly colored Caribbean coral reef fishes in the genus Hypoplectrus (Serranidae), as a particularly apt system to test empirically specific predictions generated by the application of matching to mate choice and speciation.

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