The role of pre- and post-mating sexual selection on trait evolution: from ejaculates to behaviour
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Descrizione del progetto
Understanding how pre- and post-mating sexual selection interact to shape the evolutionary diversification of reproductive traits remains a well-recognized challenge in sexual selection research. Despite being fundamentally linked, these two episodes of selection have been traditionally studied apart. By making use of the field cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus) as an insect model system the proposed project aims to understand how sexual selection shapes complex phenotypes by quantifying the relative contribution of pre- and post-mating selection to male reproductive fitness and key reproductive traits (behaviour, morphology, and ejaculates), and examine whether their contribution is altered across social environments varying in the opportunity and strength for selection. It will also uncover correlated evolution and/or evolutionary trade-offs between pre- and post-mating traits by measuring trait responses to disentangled pre- and post-mating selective pressures attained by maintaining experimental evolution lines under either high pre-mating selection and high post-mating selection. The knowledge generated will likely forge new and exciting directions in the study of trait evolution and mating system dynamics.