Emerging sex allocation research in mammals: marsupials and the pouch advantage

Robert, Kylie A., and Schwanz, Lisa E. (2011) Emerging sex allocation research in mammals: marsupials and the pouch advantage. Mammal Review, 41 (1). pp. 1-22.

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1. Adaptive adjustments in offspring sex ratios in mammals have long been reported, but the conditions and mechanisms that prompt shifts in the proportion of sons and daughters born are still unclear.

2. Empirical evidence indicates that offspring sex in mammals can be related to a diversity of environmental and maternal traits. However, the underlying assumptions regarding offspring and maternal fitness are rarely tested.

3. Physiological mechanisms of maternal selection of offspring sex may occur at many stages during the prolonged maternal investment stage, and a pluralistic approach to studying mechanisms might prove fruitful.

4. This review highlights the apparent frequency, in marsupial mammals, of sex ratio bias, which has largely been recorded as conforming to one of a few hypotheses.

5. Marsupials are ideally suited to experiments involving cross-fostering of offspring, which can allow rigorous tests of the fitness consequences of rearing one sex vs. the other. The reproductive biology of marsupials lends the group to detailed studies of the timing and physiological correlates of offspring sex biases.

6. Many components of metatherian biology may prove advantageous in experimental studies of sex allocation in mammals, and together may provide a prosperous avenue for examining adaptive and mechanistic hypotheses in mammalian sex allocation.

Item ID: 18809
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2907
Keywords: local resource competition (LRC), metatheria, offspring sex, sex ratio manipulation, Trivers–Willard Hypothesis (TWH)
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2011 06:12
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060203 Ecological Physiology @ 25%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060308 Life Histories @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960499 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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