Sex-allocation theory developed for hermaphroditic plants predicts that impaired phenotype or reduced parental survivorship caused by environmental stress should induce relatively greater allocation to the male function. We provide experimental evidence of stress-induced maleness, already well documented in flowering plants, in a modular animal. By using cloned copies of replicate genotypes, we show that the marine bryozoan Celleporella hyalina increases the ratio of male to female modules in response to diverse environmental stressors. Mating trials confirmed that paternity is determined by fair-raffle sperm competition, which should obviate local mate competition at characteristic population density and promote the advantage of increased male allocation. The demonstrated similarity to plants transcends specific physiological pathways and suggests that stress-induced bias toward male function is a general response of hermaphroditic modular organisms to impaired prospects for parental productivity or survival.
- MARINE BRYOZOAN
- REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS
- BRYOZOAN CELLEPORELLA-HYALINA
- WATER-BORNE SPERM
- Multidisciplinary Sciences