Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Will Love Tear Them Apart? Identifying the Eco-Evolutionary Feedbacks of Sexual Traits

Version 1 : Received: 29 August 2018 / Approved: 29 August 2018 / Online: 29 August 2018 (16:19:12 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.


The study of eco-evolutionary feedbacks is in clear recent expansion. However, most studies concern predator-prey and host-parasite interactions, while the analysis of eco-evolutionary feedbacks involving sexual interactions is lagging behind. This is at odds with the potential of these interactions to engage in such processes. Indeed, there is now ample evidence that sexual selection is affected by ecological change. There is also evidence that sexual selection traits evolve rapidly, which may modify the ecological context of species, and thus the selection pressures they will be exposed to. Here, we first set a clear distinction between processes in which ecology drives evolution and those in which the contemporary evolution of populations may change their ecology, depending on which traits act as drivers and objects of change. We then review evidence for these processes and discuss examples of closed eco-evolutionary feedbacks in an attempt to understand how we can tear this loop apart. We suggest that a better understanding of eco-evolutionary feedbacks of sexual selection may help us understand the effects of sexual selection on the rate of adaptation, speciation, and extinction, and thus foster future research in this area.


sexual selection, sexual conflicts, contemporary evolution, mate choice, mating systems, mating strategies.


Biology and Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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