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Citations since 2016
2 Research Items
Adult body size, development time, and growth rates are components of organismal life histories, which crucially influence fitness and are subject to trade-offs. If selection is sex-specific, male and female developments can eventually lead to different optimal sizes. This can be achieved through developmental plasticity and sex-specific developmen...
Theory suggests that consistent individual variation in behavior relates to fitness, but few studies have empirically examined the role of personalities in mate choice, male-male competition and reproductive success. We observed the Mediterranean black widow, Latrodectus tredecimguttatus, in the individual and mating context, to test how body size...
Females and males commonly differ in the expression of traits. The evolution of sexual dimorphism requires sex-specific selection and at least partly independent genetic variation between the sexes. However, females and males share an almost identical genome that constrains the sexes to respond independently to the selection and may result in a stage when one or both sexes express traits outside their optima. Quantitative genetics provides tools to predict the extent to which the evolution of sexual dimorphism is genetically constrained between sexes by assessing the cross-sex genetic correlation. The cross‐sex genetic correlation can be estimated as rmf =COVAmf∕sqrt(VAf ∗VAm), where COVAmf is the additive genetic covariance between the sexes, and VAm and VAf are additive genetic variances of males and females, respectively. When is close to unity, the sexes are assumed to have a nearly identical genetic architecture for the trait and evolution of sexual dimorphism should be constrained; close to zero values of rmf indicate complete independence in the genetic architecture of the trait between males and females and thus sex independent evolution. A cross‐sex genetic correlation between zero and one suggests that some of the genes acting on the shared trait already differ between males and females and indicates a further possibility for the evolution of sexual dimorphism in the trait. In this project, we aim to assess genetic variances and cross‐sex genetic correlations of size in an extremely sexually-size dimorphic spider, Nephilinis cruentata. In these spiders, females are considerably larger than males, they weigh more than 70X more than males. Our preliminary analyses found rmf close to zero suggesting that females and males do not share genetic architecture for size, indicates a resolved intra-locus sexual conflict and potential for further sex independent evolution of size. The result reflects differences in the effects of sexual and natural selection on body size between the sexes. The amount of genetic variation is significantly lower in females compared to males implying that females have been under the stronger directional selection (for fecundity) compared to males that are more plastic.
Urban environments pose many challenges for animals, two being increased temperature and pollution. Temperature is a critical factor (especially for ectotherms), and heavy metal toxicity has both short and long term negative effects. The direct effects of both are well understood, but studies on transgenerational effects of maternal exposure on offspring phenotypes, are lacking in invertebrates. Spiders make excellent models for studying transgenerational effects, because they are ectotherms, have short generation times and are top invertebrate predators. We propose to determine whether maternal effects can act as a short term buffer against the effects of increased temperature and heavy metal exposure in Larinioides sclopetarius. We will test whether and how maternal exposure to sub-lethal concentrations of a heavy metal affects offspring phenotype and performance, including resistance to starvation, and whether and how maternal exposure to increased temperatures affects offspring life history traits and behaviour, including their resistance to heat waves. (PhD thesis will be carried out by Rok Golobinek)