Our paper in Trends in Ecology & Evolution about the role of learning in sexual selection and speciation is now online, and you can find a link to it here. Soon the reprints will hopefully come, and then you can ask Machteld Verzijden for a copy (firstname.lastname@example.org). Hopefully, this paper will stimulate increased interest and more experimental and observational studies in this fast moving field.
Below, you will find more details about the paper. Enjoy!
Learning is widespread in nature, occurring in most animal taxa and in several different ecological contexts and, thus, might play a key role in evolutionary processes. Here, we review the accumulating empirical evidence for the involvement of learning in mate choice and the consequences for sexual selection and reproductive isolation. We distinguish two broad categories: learned mate preferences and learned traits under mate selection (such as bird song). We point out that the context of learning, namely how and when learning takes place, often makes a crucial difference to the predicted evolutionary outcome. Factors causing biases in learning and when one should expect the evolution of learning itself are also explored.