Sexual selection in the context of realistic ecology
Ecological factors can alter sexual selection by facilitating or
constraining the expression of courtship behavior, preferences
and investment in offspring, making it critical to understand sexual selection in the context of realistic ecology. Demographic factors like sex ratio and population density can shape competition for mates and may be particularly important in
this regard. Mating behavior also commonly depends on intrinsic factors like age, condition, reproductive state and mating history. We're investigating how these intrinsic and extrinsic factors interact with one another to influence different stages of mate choice including sexual signalling, competition for territories and nest sites, the search for mates, courtship, and post-mating reproductive investment. Work is being done in both field cricket and stickleback systems. Check the publications page for recent findings.
You can learn more about this work by reading Michigan State University graduate student Emily Weigel's blog post for the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. Batter Up!