Sexual selection in a complex and changing world

Investigating the shifting patterns in sexual selection

This project will seek to understand how patterns of sexual selection change when the context in which it operates changes. You will evaluate a range of sexually selected traits and mechanisms under different ecological, temporal, social and physical conditions. For example, how do sperm competition dynamics change when the timing of successive matings is experimentally manipulated?

How does a male’s diet potentially influence his rival’s success in the race to fertilize a female’s eggs? And how do female pre- and postcopulatory preferences change according to social context? These and other questions may form the basis of the project, depending on your specific skill set and interests. Overall, the project will provide a timely empirical evaluation of the emerging view that sexual selection is extremely labile.

For more background information, see the suggested readings below.

Research team leader: Professor Jon Evans

My research interests lie in the fields of evolutionary biology and behavioural ecology although my 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.

How to apply

Interested in becoming part of this project? Complete the following steps to submit your expression of interest:

Step 1 - Check criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

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.

Step 2 - Submit enquiry to research team leader

Step 3 - Lodge application

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an application. Different application procedures apply to domestic and international students.


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