Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.Sc.

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Pitcher, Trevor (Biological Sciences)

Keywords

Biology.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Male sexual ornamentation may represent a signal designed to increase male reproductive success by conveying information to females. Carotenoid-based ornaments may serve as particularly interesting signals because of the unique properties of carotenoids. I investigated allocation issues, the life-history trade-off and reliable signalling hypotheses, and the source of carotenoid-based colouration in a wild population of male redside dace (Clinostomus elongatus). I identified the chemical basis of the red integument as keto-carotenoids, used reflectance spectroscopy to obtain the spectral properties of the red colouration to test the reliable signalling hypothesis, used absorbance spectroscopy readings to quantify carotenoid content in different tissues to test for allocation and trade-offs, and identified the natural source of the carotenoids. My findings indicate that the red integument is not a reliable signal, no trade-off was observed across tissue types, and terrestrial insects were the natural source of carotenoids for redside dace.

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