Emily DuVal, Florida State University: The trouble with traits: behavioural mechanisms and adaptive significance of mate choice in a lek mating system.
13:00 - 14:00
Prof. Dr. Emily DuVal
Florida State University
Seminar Room House 4, Tea & Coffee 12:30h
Dr. Maude Baldwin
Lek mating systems are arenas of intense sexual selection, in which mate choice is unfettered by male-female pair bonds or the requirements of offspring care. Current selective pressures from female choice are widely assumed to dictate the elaborate phenotypes and social systems of lekking males. To investigate the process of female choice and the patterns of male fitness it produces, I’ve collected 20 years of behavioral, morphological, and fitness data from a population of lance-tailed manakins, a cooperatively lekking tropical bird. In this species, breeding alpha males have distinctive morphological and behavioral phenotypes, males team up to perform complicated two-male dances for visiting females, and females search extensively to choose their mates. Tracking individual females’ movements during mate assessment reveals a hierarchical process of mate choice, and females receive indirect genetic benefits from choosing particular sires. I’ll discuss my progress in understanding this fascinating system, what we do and don’t know about the mechanisms of sexual selection in manakins, and what it suggests more broadly for the study of sexual selection.