Ejaculate-mediated paternal effects in guppies: adaptive significance, mechanisms and evolutionary implications

Can paternal experiences influence offspring fitness?

This project will aim to unravel the evolutionary importance of ejaculate-mediated paternal effects, through which paternal lifestyle factors, such as diet and exposure to toxicants, influence offspring growth and health independently of genes.

By identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying these non-genetic sources of inheritance, their adaptive value, and their potential to fuel evolutionary change, the project will generate new knowledge that will be relevant across the biological, medical and agricultural sectors.

Expected outcomes and benefits include building institutional and interdisciplinary collaborations and the development of tools to understand the evolutionary impacts of paternal lifestyle choices for offspring traits.

Project goals:
  • To test whether paternal effects are adaptive for offspring
  • To identify epigenetic regulators of paternal effects

The successful applicant will:

  • Run an ambitious program of research in collaboration with the host leader and his research group.
  • Conduct behavioural, molecular and analytical assays to achieve the broad aims of the project, working in collaboration with the host lab and external collaborators.


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Research team leader: Professor Jon Evans

My research interests lie in the fields of evolutionary biology and behavioural ecology with a background is in marine biology. I am particularly interested in the evolution of reproductive traits, tactics and behaviour, and the interplay between successive (pre- and postcopulatory) episodes of sexual selection. My funding typically comes from the ARC’s Discovery grants scheme.


Funding and Collaborations

Funding - Pending

External Collaborators:

    • Professor Andrea Pilastro, University of Padova, Italy.
    • Dr Francisco Garcia-Gonzalez, Donana Biological Research Station, Seville, Spain.
    • Professor Alastair Wilson, University of Exeter, UK.



How to Apply 

Check criteria
  • To be accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy, an applicant must demonstrate they have sufficient background experience in independent supervised research to successfully complete, and provide evidence of English language proficiency
  • Requirements specific to this project - Applicants must have an undergraduate or master’s degree in a relevant discipline, including Zoology, Ecology or Evolutionary Genetics, with relevant research experience (e.g. Honours or Masters research) in these areas. Good working knowledge of statistics and statistical software (e.g. R) is essential.
Submit enquiry to research team leader 
  • Contact the research team leader by submitting an Expression of Interest form via the button below
  • After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, contact [email protected] to proceed with your application