Directional selection and the evolution of breeding date in birds

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  06 May 1988:
Vol. 240, Issue 4853, pp. 798-799
DOI: 10.1126/science.3363360


In many bird species, those pairs that breed earlier in the season have higher reproductive success than those that breed later. Since breeding date is known to be heritable, it is unclear why it does not evolve to an earlier time. Under assumptions outlined by Fisher, a model is developed that shows how breeding date may have considerable additive genetic variance, appear to be under directional selection, and yet not evolve. These results provide a general explanation for a persistent correlation of fitness with a variety of traits in natural populations.

Stay Connected to Science