In mosses, separate and combined sexes are evolutionarily labile, yet factors selecting for this variation are unknown. In this study, we investigate phylogenetic correlations between sexual system and five life-history traits (asexual reproduction, chromosome number, gametophore length, spore size, and seta length). We assigned states to species on a large-scale phytogeny of mosses and used maximum likelihood analyses to test for the correlations and investigate the sequence of trait acquisition. Mosses in lineages with separate sexes were significantly more likely to be large, whereas those in lineages with combined sexes had higher chromosome numbers. Moreover, evolutionary transitions to separate sexes were more likely to occur in lineages with small spores. There was no support for a correlation between asexual reproduction and separate sexes. These results suggest that sexual system evolution is influenced by traits affecting mate availability and the dispersal of gametes and spores, and provides evidence for the existence of syndromes of life-history traits in mosses.
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Vol. 63 • No. 5