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Geographic Parthenogenesis

Veldhuis, E.R. (2012) Geographic Parthenogenesis. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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The maintenance of both sexuality and asexuality is one of the oldest questions in the evolutionary ecology, also known as the paradox of sex. Insights into the maintenance of sex in natural populations may be gained from processes underlying different geographic distributions between sexuality and asexuality. While sexuality occurs generally in core habitats in contrast to marginal habitats like high latitudes and high altitudes, with asexuality it is the other way around. This is called geographic parthenogenesis. Although there are at least five main hypotheses which explain this pattern, they are all based on theoretical models. I stress the necessity testing these hypotheses rather than coming up with new ones. In this review I summarized the five main hypotheses to explain geographic parthenogenesis: Mate limitation, maladapted sexual migrants, the tangled bank hypothesis, a variant of the red queen hypothesis and the metapopulation hypothesis. Then I disentangled the hypotheses by looking at the differences in their predictions and, when it was possible, made an outline how they could be tested. The four hypotheses may all contribute to geographic parthenogenesis. None of them excludes another. The experiments can test the hypotheses of mate limitation, maladapted sexual migrants and the red queen hypothesis; however I was not able to disentangle the last from the tangled bank hypothesis. It is likely that one of the reproduction systems outcompetes the other but cannot maintain itself in certain condition which would explain the coexistence of sexuality and asexuality. It is important that we test the hypotheses because that is the best way to get insights into the advantages and disadvantage of sex in natural populations.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:50
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:50

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