Male pheasant (Phasanius colchicus), a sexually very dimorphic bird.
Photo: Erik Svensson
Posted by Erik Svensson
It is time for the first lab-meeting of 2013, and since it will be my birthday (8 January), I will bring a cake. I want to dedicate this lab-meeting to two papers about sex differences in plasticity and its opposite (canalization). You will find the Abstracts below, and you can download these two papers here and here.
I do also want to take the opportunity to briefly (15-30 minutes) present some ongoing work that I have been doing with Machteld, Maren and Anna Runemark about sex-differences in learned mate preferences and responses to heterospecifics, based on some experiments we have done on male and female banded demoiselles (Calopteryx splendens). This is also related to some of Machtelds ongoing work on the developmental plasticity of preference curves and mate preference learning, which we can also discuss a bit. Hopefully, there will then be a smooth transition between this short presentation and the papers we will discuss.
For the rest of the semester, Machteld Verzijden (firstname.lastname@example.org) is responsible for setting up a "Google Docs"-link soon so that we can all sign up for lab-meetings and take the opportunity to arrange at least one lab-meeting during next semester (including picking 1-2 papers and/or prepare a presentation, bring fika, writeup a blog post, post it on the Facebook group).
Details about the lab-meeting next week:
Time: 8 January 2013 at 10.30
Place: "Argumentet", 2nd floor, Ecology Building
Sex Differences in Phenotypic Plasticity Affect Variation in Sexual Size Dimorphism in Insects: From Physiology to Evolution
Males and females of nearly all animals differ in their body size, a phenomenon called sexual size dimorphism (SSD). The degree and direction of SSD vary considerably among taxa, including among populations within species. A considerable amount of this variation is due to sex differences in body size plasticity. We examine how variation in these sex differences is generated by exploring sex differences in plasticity in growth rate and development time and the physiological regulation of these differences (e.g., sex differences in regulation by the endocrine system). We explore adaptive hypotheses proposed to explain sex differences in plasticity, including those that predict that plasticity will be lowest for traits under strong selection (adaptive canalization) or greatest for traits under strong directional selection (condition dependence), but few studies have tested these hypotheses. Studies that combine proximate and ultimate mechanisms offer great promise for understanding variation in SSD and sex differences in body size plasticity in insects.