The Adaptive Sex in Stressful Environments

Type Article
Date 2019-07
Language English
Author(s) Geffroy Benjamin1, Douhard Mathieu2
Affiliation(s) 1 : MARBEC, Ifremer, IRD, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, Palavas-Les-Flots, France
2 : Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine, UMR CNRS 5553, Université Savoie Mont Blanc, Le Bourget du Lac, France
Source Trends In Ecology & Evolution (0169-5347) (Elsevier BV), 2019-07 , Vol. 34 , N. 7 , P. 628-640
DOI 10.1016/j.tree.2019.02.012
WOS© Times Cited 42

The impact of early stress on juvenile development has intrigued scientists for decades, but the adaptive significance of such effects remains an ongoing debate. This debate has largely ignored some characteristics of the offspring, such as their sex, despite strong evolutionary and demographic implications of sex-ratio variation. We review recent studies that examine associations between glucocorticoids (GCs), the main class of stress hormones, and offspring sex. Whereas exposure to GCs at around the time of sex determination in fish consistently produces males, the extent and direction of sex-ratio bias in response to stress vary in reptiles, birds, and mammals. We propose proximate and ultimate explanations for most of these trends.

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