Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Evolutionarily stable sexual allocation by both stressed and unstressed potentially simultaneous hermaphrodites within the same population

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


M. Broom, R. N. Hughes, M. T. Burrows, G. D. Ruxton

School/Research organisations


Factors influencing allocation of resources to male and female offspring continue to be of great interest to evolutionary biologists. A simultaneous hermaphrodite is capable of functioning in both male and female mode at the same time, and such a life-history strategy is adopted by most flowering plants and by many sessile aquatic animals. In this paper, we focus on hermaphrodites that nourish post-zygotic stages, e.g. flowering plants and internally fertilising invertebrates, and consider how their sex allocation should respond to an environmental stress that reduces prospects of survival but does not affect all individuals equally, rather acting only on a subset of the population. Whereas dissemination of pollen and sperm can begin at sexual maturation, release of seeds and larvae is delayed by embryonic development. We find that the evolutionarily stable strategy for allocation between male and female functions will be critically dependent on the effect of stress on the trade-off between the costs of male and female reproduction, (i.e. of sperm and embryos). Thus, we identify evaluation of this factor as an important challenge to empiricists interested in the effects of stress on sex allocation. When only a small fraction of the population is stressed, we predict that stressed individuals will allocate their resources entirely to male function and unstressed individuals will increase their allocation to female function. Conversely, when the fraction of stress-affected individuals is high, stressed individuals should respond to this stressor by increasing investment in sperm and unstressed individuals should invest solely in embryos. A further prediction of the model is that we would not expect to find populations in the natural world where both stressed and unstressed individuals are both hermaphrodite. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-102
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2012

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Effects of seed passage by sheep on germination of the invasive Prosopis juliflora tree

    Abbas, A. M., Mahfouz, L., Ahmed, M. K., Al-Kahtani, M. A., Ruxton, G. D. & Lambert, A. M., Jul 2020, In : Small Ruminant Research. 188, 106098.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Evaluation of disruptive camouflage of avian cup-nests

    Mulder, T., Campbell, C. & Ruxton, G. D., 28 May 2020, In : Ibis. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Substantially inflated type I error rates if propensity score method is not fixed in advance

    Neuhäuser, M., Kraechter, J. M., Thielmann, M. & Ruxton, G. D., 19 May 2020, In : Communications in Statistics: Case Studies, Data Analysis and Applications. 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Camouflage in predators

    Pembury Smith, M. & Ruxton, G. D., 14 May 2020, In : Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. Early View, 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  5. Do orientation and substrate influence apparent turning biases by the 7-spot ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata?

    Humphreys, R. K. & Ruxton, G. D., 20 Mar 2020, In : Behaviour. 157, 3-4, p. 205-230 26 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Consistency and identifiability of the polymorphism-aware phylogenetic models

    Borges, R. & Kosiol, C., 7 Feb 2020, In : Journal of Theoretical Biology. 486, p. 1-6 6 p., 110074.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. A theory for investment across defences triggered at different stages of a predator-prey encounter

    Wang, L., Ruxton, G. D., Cornell, S. J., Speed, M. P. & Broom, M., 21 Jul 2019, In : Journal of Theoretical Biology. 473, p. 9-19 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Spatial-stochastic modelling of synthetic gene regulatory networks

    Macnamara, C. K., Mitchell, E. & Chaplain, M. A. J., 10 Feb 2019, In : Journal of Theoretical Biology. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Approximate Bayesian computation reveals the importance of repeated measurements for parameterising cell-based models of growing tissues

    Kursawe, J., Baker, R. E. & Fletcher, A. G., 14 Apr 2018, In : Journal of Theoretical Biology. 443, p. 66-81 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Journal of Theoretical Biology (Journal)

    Mark Andrew Joseph Chaplain (Editor)

    10 Apr 2017 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

ID: 42951817