Grant: $320,000 - National Science Foundation - Jun. 30, 2009
0% voted satisfied - 100% voted not satisfied - 3 vote(s) cast
Award Description: Understanding the processes that produce and maintain genetic variation is a critical goal of modern biology. Of the many behavioral processes that may influence genetic variation, few are as directly influential as mate choice. Choice of a reproductive partner determines which genetic information is transmitted across generations, and affects offspring health and reproductive success. Only recently has it been appreciated that individual females may vary considerably in their mating preferences and that this variability can be critical in maintaining population genetic variation and diverse male courtship behaviors. This study investigates variable female mate choice in a lekking passerine bird, the lance-tailed manakin (Chiroxiphia lanceolata). In lek mating systems, females actively assess and choose from among displaying males, but receive nothing but sperm from their chosen mate - there is no paternal care, and males do not control access to food or nesting resources. Genetic paternity analyses have revealed that female lance-tailed manakins frequently change their choice of mates in different breeding seasons, even when previously-favored mates are still available and mate successfully with other females. Females assess the same males, but make different mating decisions. This project combines field observations of behavior, automated radio tracking of females, and genetic analyses of paternity and variation to (1) characterize the behavioral mechanisms that generate variation in mate choice; (2) identify female characteristics associated with this variation (e.g. age, condition, and mating experience) and (3) test hypotheses about the benefits of variable mate choice to individual females. This work will provide much needed empirical evidence to test the idea that variable female mate choice influences the process of sexual selection in wild populations. Furthermore, the project will provide training opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, results useful in university-level teaching, and educational benefits through outreach presentations to the general public in the US and Panama.
Project Description: The goal of this project is to understand the causes and consequences of variation in female mate choice in the lance-tailed manakin (Chiroxiphia Ianceolata). To this end, in the first quarter of the project I have completed the initial genotyping of offspring sampled in the 2009 field season. These genotypes will be used to identify offspring paternity (and therefore female mate choice) in the following quarter. A key part of this project is the use of fixed telemetry stations to track the presence or absence of individual females as they visit male display areas prior to mating significant progress was also made in this quarter in developing the sound analysis program that will extract presence data from the telemetry files, and initial runs of the program demonstrate that it accurately identifies female presence at male display areas.
Jobs Summary: Nothing to report at this time. (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jun. 30, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.