Research

Recent interests include:

  1. Understanding links among sexual selection, reproductive strategies, demography & population divergence. We seek to understand how sexual selection is linked to population-level divergence in traits critical to reproduction. Our primary study animals (black widow spiders) are useful models for studying effects of sexual selection because extreme constraints on male mating success in some species (‘terminal investment‘) and behaviourally dominant females lead to strong selection on behavioural & life history strategies.
  2. Mechanistic bases of fitness. We investigate physiological and genetic bases of fitness and correlates of competitive success under different selective regimes. Mechanisms can provide critical insight into behavioural evolution.
  3. Mechanisms of sexual selection. We examine how pre– and post-copulatory competition and female choice interact to shape behaviour, physiology & life history of males and females.

Students are encouraged to combine field and laboratory work to allow multi-tiered approaches to questions of interest. Field work occurs locally (Koffler reserve at Joker’s Hill), in British Columbia, California, (Hastings Reserve), Florida (Archbold Biological Station), Sydney & Perth Australia, and Uruguay, South America.

Read more on:
Terminal Investment in redback spiders
Reproductive biology of redback spiders