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1.  Seminal Fluid Affects Sperm Viability in a Cricket 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e17975.
Recent studies have suggested that males may vary the quality of their ejaculates in response to sperm competition, although the mechanisms by which they do so remain unclear. The viability of sperm is an important aspect of ejaculate quality that determines competitive fertilization success in the field cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus. Using in vitro mixtures of sperm and seminal fluid from pairs of male crickets, we show that seminal fluid can affect the viability of sperm in this species. We found that males who invest greatly in the viability of their own sperm can enhance the viability of rival sperm, providing the opportunity for males to exploit the investments in sperm competition made by their rivals. Transitive effects of seminal fluids across the ejaculates of different males are expected to have important implications for the dynamics of male investments in sperm competition.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017975
PMCID: PMC3063794  PMID: 21455309
2.  Sperm competitiveness in frogs: slow and steady wins the race 
When sperm compete to fertilize available ova, selection is expected to favour ejaculate traits that contribute to a male's fertilization success. While there is much evidence to show that selection favours increased numbers of sperm, only a handful of empirical studies have examined how variation in sperm form and function contributes to competitive fertilization success. Here, we examine selection acting on sperm form and function in the externally fertilizing myobatrachid frog, Crinia georgiana. Using in vitro fertilization techniques and controlling for variation in the number of sperm contributed by males in competitive situations, we show that males with a greater proportion of motile sperm, and motile sperm with slower swimming velocities, have an advantage when competing for fertilizations. Sperm morphology and the degree of genetic similarity between putative sires and the female had no influence on competitive fertilization success. These unusual patterns of selection might explain why frog sperm typically exhibit relatively slow swimming speeds and sustained longevity.
doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1334
PMCID: PMC2825793  PMID: 19710059
sperm competition; polyandry; genetic compatibility; sperm velocity; sperm length; frogs
3.  Sperm Swimming Velocity Predicts Competitive Fertilization Success in the Green Swordtail Xiphophorus helleri 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12146.
Sperm competition is expected to favour the evolution of traits that influence the performance of sperm when they compete to fertilize a female's eggs. While there is considerable evidence that selection favours increases in sperm numbers, much less is known about how sperm quality contributes towards competitive fertilization success. Here, we determine whether variation in sperm quality influences competitive fertilization success in the green swordtail Xiphophorus helleri, a highly promiscuous livebearing fish. We use artificial insemination as a method of controlled sperm delivery and show that sperm swimming velocity is the primary determinant of fertilization success when ejaculates from two males compete to fertilize a female's eggs. By contrast, we found no evidence that sperm length had any effect on siring success. We also found no evidence that pre- and postcopulatory sexual traits were phenotypically integrated in this species, suggesting that the previous observation that reproductive skew favours males with high mating rates is unlikely to be due to any direct association between sperm quality and male sexual ornamentation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012146
PMCID: PMC2921332  PMID: 20730092

Results 1-3 (3)