Ian Skicko
PhD Student

Research

Research projects

Project Title: Sexual Selection and Local Adaptation to the Environment

Supervisors: Prof. Tom Tregenza, Dr. Rolando Rodríguez-Muñoz

Funding Body: NERC GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership

Project Description:
The theory of sexual selection was conceived to explain traits that are apparently disadvantageous under natural selection. Sexual selection may however be capable of accelerating adaptation to a novel environment. When males that are well adapted to their environment are preferentially selected as mates, the genes contributing to their success will spread due to their naturally selected survival benefits as well as their sexually selected reproductive benefits. My project will be among the first to investigate this accelerative potential of sexual selection in the wild. The WildCrickets project utilises an extensive CCTV system allowing long-term monitoring of a population of field crickets in Northern Spain. By supplementing some crickets with an enhanced diet I will create a group of individuals within the population that appear optimally adapted to their environment. This will allow me to address questions relating to the spread of traits by natural and sexual selection, the roles of female choice versus intra-sexual selection, condition dependent mate choice, variation in the intensity of selective pressures, and the phenotypic integration of adaptive sexual traits.

For more information on the WildCrickets project please visit www.wildcrickets.org.

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