Zoological Studies

Vol. 59, 2020

(update: 2020.07.06; 08.05)

Special Issue: Fossil and Modern Clam Shrimp (Branchiopoda: Spinicaudata, Laevicaudata)

Testing Weissman’s Lineage Selection Model for the Maintenance of Sex: The Evolutionary Dynamics of Clam Shrimp Reproduction over Geologic Time

Timothy I. Astrop1,*, Lisa Park Boush2, and Stephen C. Weeks3


1Fossil Forest Project, Blast Road, Brymbo, Wales, United Kingdom, LI11 5BT. *Correspondence: E-mail: timastrop@gmail.com (Astrop)
2Department of Geosciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-1045, USA. E-mail: lisa.park_boush@uconn.edu (Park Boush)
3Department of Biology, The University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-3908, USA. E-mail: scw@uakron.edu (Weeks)

(Received 11 June 2020 / Accepted 15 June 2020)
Special issue (articles 32-46) communicated by Thomas A. Hegna and D. Christopher Rogers

One of the most perplexing questions within evolutionary biology is: “why are there so many methods of reproduction?” Contemporary theories assume that sexual reproduction should allow long term survival as dispersal and recombination of genetic material provides a population of organisms with the ability to adapt to environmental change. One of the most frustrating aspects of studying the evolution of reproductive systems is that we have not yet been able to utilize information locked within the fossil record to assess breeding system evolution in deep time. While the fossil record provides us with information on an organism’s living environment, as well as some aspects of its ecology, the preservation of biological interactions (reproduction, feeding, symbiosis, communication) is exceedingly rare. Using both information from extant taxa uncovered by a plethora of biological and ecological studies and the rich representation of the Spinicaudata (Branchiopoda: Crustacea) throughout the fossil record (from the Devonian to today), we address two hypotheses of reproductive evolutionary theory: (1) that unisexual species should be short lived and less speciose than their outcrossing counterparts and (2) that androdioecy (mixtures of males and hermaphrodites) is an unstable, transitionary system that should not persist over long periods of time. We find no evidence of all-unisexual spinicaudatan taxa (clam shrimp) in the fossil record, but do find evidence of both androdioecious and dioecious clam shrimp. We find that clades with many androdioecious species are less speciose but persist longer than their mostly dioecious counterparts. These data suggest that all-unisexual lineages likely do not persist long whereas mixtures of unisexual and sexual breeding can persist for evolutionarily long periods but tend to produce fewer species than mostly sexual breeding.

Key words: Evolution of sex, Sexual dimorphism, Morphometrics, Androdioecy, Chonchostraca.

Citation: Citation: Astrop TI, Park Boush L, Weeks SC. 2020. Testing Weissman’s lineage selection model for the maintenance of sex: the evolutionary dynamics of clam shrimp reproduction over geologic time. Zool Stud 59:34. doi:10.6620/ZS.2020.59-34.