Inbreeding is a potent evolutionary force shaping the distribution of genetic variation within and among populations of plants and animals. Yet, our understanding of the forces shaping the expression and evolution of nonrandom mating in general, and inbreeding in particular, remains remarkably incomplete. Most research on plant mating systems focuses on self-fertilization and its consequences for automatic selection, inbreeding depression, purging, and reproductive assurance, whereas studies of animal mating systems have often assumed that inbreeding is rare, and that natural selection favors traits that promote outbreeding. Given that many sessile and sedentary marine invertebrates and marine macroalgae share key life history features with seed plants (e.g., low mobility, modular construction, and the release of gametes into the environment), their mating systems may be similar. Here, we show that published estimates of inbreeding coefficients (FIS) for sessile and sedentary marine organisms are similar and at least as high as noted in terrestrial seed plants. We also found that variation in FIS within invertebrates is related to the potential to self-fertilize, disperse, and choose mates. The similarity of FIS for these organismal groups suggests that inbreeding could play a larger role in the evolution of sessile and sedentary marine organisms than is currently recognized. Specifically, associations between traits of marine invertebrates and FIS suggest that inbreeding could drive evolutionary transitions between hermaphroditism and separate sexes, direct development and multiphasic life cycles, and external and internal fertilization.
Olsen, Kevin C.; Ryan, Will H.; Winn, Alice A.; Kosman, Ellen T.; Moscoso, Jose A.; Krueger-Hadfield, Stacy A.; Burgess, Scott C.; Carlon, David B.; Grosberg, Richard K.; Kalisz, Susan; and Levitan, Don R., "Inbreeding shapes the evolution of marine invertebrates" (2020). Biology Faculty Publications. 3.