Thesis: Understanding individual behavioural variation
My research will be looking at individual differences in behaviour in the Australian field cricket, Teleogryllus oceanicus. I am mainly interested in determining the environmental mechanisms responsible for fluctuations in behaviour, and further, whether these environmentally induced behavioural variations have the potential for transgenerational effects on offspring behaviour.
Then, based on previous research suggesting that female crickets alter their behaviour as they age, I will be examining whether this pattern is also seen in males or whether the two sexes display different patterns of behavioural variation over their lifetimes. I will also attempt to determine not only whether the behaviour of females changes in the days following mating, but also what the role of male seminal fluid proteins are in this process. And lastly, I aim to examine the fitness benefits associated with behavioural variation.
Why my research is important
Despite a growing body of research into individual differences in animal behaviour, there are still many important questions that have yet to be answered. Therefore, by investigating many of these so far disregarded details, especially in regards to the potential for transgenerational effects on behaviour, I aim to provide a new perspective on the evolutionary consequences of individual behavioural variation.