EEB Seminar: January 24

This week we welcome Trevor Pitcher.

The evolutionary ecology of alternative reproductive tactics in Chinook Salmon

Until recently, sexual selection theory assumed most taxa were monogamous and selection was thought to operate mainly via processes prior to copulation, namely mate choice (typically females choosing amongst males) and competition for mates (typically among males). However, genetic and behavioural studies have shown that sexual promiscuity is common among most taxa. Multiple mating by females creates the potential for sexual selection to continue post-copulation via; (i) the competition between sperm of different males for the fertilization of ova (sperm competition) and (ii) the differential use of sperm from one male over another, with a presumed genetic benefit to offspring fitness (cryptic female choice). As a result, reproductive fitness is now understood to be determined by the complex interactions of male and female traits (at the phenotypic/genotypic level) during episodes of selection pre- and post-copulation. In this seminar I will outline some of the recent research our lab has conducted to better understand pre- and post-spawning sexual selection among alternative male reproductive tactics of Chinook salmon and outline areas where we are pursuing new research using behavioural, physiological, proteomic and transcriptomic approaches to better understand sexual selection and the evolutionary ecology of alternative reproductive tactics.

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