Sampling scale can cause bias in positive assortative mating estimates: The first evidence in two intertidal snails.

Ng, T.P.T., Williams, G.A., Davies, M.S., Stafford, R. and Rolán-Alvarez, E., 2016. Sampling scale can cause bias in positive assortative mating estimates: The first evidence in two intertidal snails. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 119 (2), pp. 414-419.

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DOI: 10.1111/bij.12839

Abstract

Assortative mating in the wild is commonly estimated by correlating between traits in mating pairs (e.g. size of males and females). Unfortunately such an approach may suffer from considerable sampling bias when the distribution of different expressions of a trait in the wild is non-random; for example, when segregation of different size classes of individuals occur in different microhabitats or areas. Consequently, any observed trait correlation in the wild can be an artifact of pooling heterogeneous samples of mating pairs from different microhabitats or areas rather than true non-random matings. This bias in estimating trait correlations due to sampling scale is termed the scale-of-choice effect (SCE). Here we use two intertidal littorinid species from Hong Kong to show how the SCE can bias size-assortative mating estimates from mating pairs captured in the wild, empirically demonstrating the influence of this effect on measures of positive assortative mating. This finding cautions that studies that have overlooked SCE may have misinterpreted the magnitude and the cause of assortative mating, and we provide a new analytical approach to protect against this potential bias in future studies.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:1095-8312
Subjects:UNSPECIFIED
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:23422
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:18 Apr 2016 15:00
Last Modified:27 Sep 2016 11:08

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