Nonadditive genetic variation and genetic disequilibrium are two important factors that influence the evolutionary trajectory of natural populations. We assayed quantitative genetic variation in a temporary-pond-dwelling population of Daphnia pulex over a full season to examine the role of nonadditive genetic variation and genetic disequilibrium in determining the short-term evolutionary trajectory of a cyclic parthenogen. Quantitative traits were influenced by three factors: (1) clonal selection significantly changed the population mean phenotype during the course of the growing season; (2) sexual reproduction and recombination led to significant changes in life-history trait means and the levels of expressed genetic variation, implying the presence of substantial nonadditive genetic variation and genetic disequilibrium; and (3) Egg-bank effects were found to be an important component of the realized year-to-year change. Additionally, we examined the impact of genetic disequilibria induced by clonal selection on the genetic (co)variance structure with a common principal components model. Clonal selection caused significant changes in the (co)variance structure that were eliminated by a single bout of random mating, suggesting that a build-up of disequilibria was the primary source of changes in the (co)variance structure. The results of this study highlight the complexity of natural selection operating on populations that undergo alternating phases of sexual and asexual reproduction.
Corresponding Editor: D. Waller