Integrating the Theories of Kin Selection and Sexual Selection
Sexual selection and kin selection are both considered special cases of natural selection. However, both topics have developed almost entirely independently. A recent review stated that there is no overlap between them, but this work was focused on eusocial organisms, whose ancestral monogamy ruled out much scope for sexual selection. In my research, I aim to develop theoretical connections between these two theories. With such approach, I want to propose new hypotheses of evolutionary processes that could lead to future empirical research.
Mate-Choice Copying in Drosophila subobscura
Mate-choice copying by females occurs when they obtain information about the performance of a male, increasing or decreasing their preference for that male, accordingly. The same change in preference can occur for similar males to the one that was being chosen/rejected when generalisation of the preferences is present. This behaviour pattern has been found in several species, including one species of invertebrate, Drosophila melanogaster. In this project, we want to see if this behaviour is also present in Drosophila subobscura and, at the same time, study how it evolves in new environmental conditions and in different populations throughout generations.
History, Chance and Selection during Local Adaptation: a Genome-Wide Analysis
Understanding the major factors that affect local adaptation is essential for both evolutionary and conservation biology. The potential of populations to adapt to environmental change depends on standing genetic variation, which in turn is affected by population size and previous evolutionary history. Understanding the genetic basis of the adaptive process requires answering such questions as: How fast does a population genetically respond to an environmental change? What is the genetic basis of evolution in a novel environment? Is adaptation repeatable? How much is the evolution of fitness-related traits associated with genomic structure? The joint use of experimental evolution and genome-wide next-generation re-sequencing analysis allows strong-inference answers to these questions. Using Drosophila subobscura as a model organism, Margarida Matos' team has been exploring all of these evolutionary processes.