Mate choice in a polluted world: Consequences for individuals, populations and communities

Ulrika Candolin, Bob B.M. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Pollution (e.g. by chemicals, noise, light, heat) is an insidious consequence of anthropogenic activity that affects environments worldwide. Exposure of wildlife to pollutants has the capacity to adversely affect animal communication and behaviour across a wide range of sensory modalities-by not only impacting the signalling environment, but also the way in which animals produce, perceive and interpret signals and cues. Such disturbances, particularly when it comes to sex, can drastically alter fitness. Here, we consider how pollutants disrupt communication and behaviour during mate choice, and the ecological and evolutionary changes such disturbances can engender.We explain how the different stages of mate choice can be affected by pollution, from encountering mates to the final choice, and how changes to these stages can influence individual fitness, population dynamics and community structure. We end with discussing how an understanding of these disturbances can help inform better conservation and management practices and highlight important considerations and avenues for future research. This article is part of the theme issue 'Linking behaviour to dynamics of populations and communities: application of novel approaches in behavioural ecology to conservation'.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20180055
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1781
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2019


  • Communication
  • Courtship
  • Environmental change
  • Mate preferences
  • Sexual selection
  • Signals

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