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From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

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Effects of polyandry on male phenotypic diversity


Wednesday, 28th October 2009 12.00pm - 1.00pm

ARC Centre of Excellence Conference Room, JCU (DB44)
Miguel Barbosa, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

Miguel did his Honours at University of Lisbon, in which he studied the ontogenetic patterns in native clingfishes. He then moved to Townsville where we completed a Master of Applied Sciences in 2004. During this first stay in Townsville, Miguel compared the patterns of sex change in Labrid fishes of Rottnest Island, under the guidance of Professor Geoff Jones. From 2005 to 2008 he lived in St. Andrews, Scotland where he completed his PhD under the supervision of Professor Anne Magurran. During his time in St. Andrews, Miguel studied the reproductive behaviour of female Trinidadian guppy. More specifically, he examined the variables that influence female mating decisions in Poecilia reticulata and how these affect their fitness, as well as the fitness of their offspring. Miguel has just recently applied for a postdoctoral fellowship in Portugal where he aims to keep on studying female reproductive decisions, but this time by using brain transcriptional profiling to identify the neural genomic processes underlying such critical behaviour.


Polyandry, where females mate multiply during the same reproductive season, is widespread among most taxa. Whenever the sperm of two or more males compete for fertilization, as in polyandry, then the opportunity for mechanisms of post mating selection such as sperm competition and/or female cryptic choice arise. The result of these postmating selection mechanisms is that one sperm is favoured over the other, theoretically shaping the selection of male phenotypes. We investigated whether polyandry promotes directionality or diversification of male phenotypic traits in Trinidadian guppies. This question was addressed by comparing the multivariate dispersion of the phenotypes of offspring from multiple and single sires. Our results suggest that polyandry promotes diversification rather than directionality of male phenotypic traits, with offspring sired from multiple fathers having greater dispersion of phenotypes than offspring sired by single fathers. Furthermore, only offspring of polyandrous descent are more phenotypicaly diverse than their fathers. These results support fitness benefits associated to brood diversification as a driver of polyandry.


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