The emancipation of sexual selection

Institute Seminar by Kavita Isvaran

  • Date: Nov 28, 2023
  • Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Kavita Isvaran
  • I am a behavioural ecologist. I love watching animals and puzzling out what leads to the diversity that we see in behaviour and life-histories. My students and I are particularly interested in how trait evolution works in the wild, where conditions are usually messy and complex. We are also interested in applying behavioural ecological approaches to applied problems. Together with research, I am keenly interested in ideas to do with replicable research, especially better practice in study design and statistical inference. I am at the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.
  • Location: online
  • Host: Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior
  • Contact:
The emancipation of sexual selection
Sexual selection, the competition between individuals of a sex for mates, is known to result in the evolution of bizarre, conspicuous, sometimes dangerous, often decorative traits. Our understanding of such competition derives primarily from males competing for mates. There is mounting evidence for widespread intrasexual competition in females. We are only beginning to discover the diverse range of ecological contexts in which female-female competition occurs. I present work from our group that attempts to decipher female-female competition in diverse ecological contexts: how females compete for mates on antelope leks, how female lizards deploy multiple signals and aggression strategically during competition, and how female mosquitoes adopt unexpectedly and seemingly dangerous tactics when competing for resources for their offspring. I argue that due to key life history differences, intrasexual competition is likely to favour traits in females that are quite different from those historically reported in males.

The MPI-AB Seminar Series is open to members of MPI and Uni Konstanz. The zoom link is published each week in the MPI-AB newsletter.

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