Broadcast spawning invertebrates offer highly tractable models for evaluating sperm competition, gamete-level mate choice and sexual conflict. By displaying the ancestral mating strategy of external fertilization, where sexual selection is constrained to act after gamete release, broadcast spawners also offer potential evolutionary insights into the cascade of events that led to sexual reproduction in more 'derived' groups (including humans). Moreover, the dynamic reproductive conditions faced by these animals mean that the strength and direction of sexual selection on both males and females can vary considerably. These attributes make broadcast spawning invertebrate systems uniquely suited to testing, extending, and sometimes challenging classic and contemporary ideas in sperm competition, many of which were first captured in Parker's seminal papers on the topic. Here, we provide a synthesis outlining progress in these fields, and highlight the burgeoning potential for broadcast spawners to provide both evolutionary and mechanistic understanding into gamete-level sexual selection more broadly across the animal kingdom. This article is part of the theme issue 'Fifty years of sperm competition'.
|Number of pages||1|
|Journal||Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 7 Dec 2020|