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Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology

Welcome to the Animal Ecology research-group!

Stickleback_Pelvicachromis.jpg

 

Research topic is the evolutionary ecology of natural and sexual selection in three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus, Gasterosteidae) and a stream-dwelling cichlid (Pelvicachromis taeniatus, Cichlidae) including:

  • ecological, quantitative genetic, and behavioural studies done in the laboratory concerning parasite resistance, prey choice, genetic variation and covariation in sexual traits, multiple mate preferences (for visual signals inclusive UV), sperm competition using microsatellites, and paternal care.

  • field studies on aquatic ecology, population biology, and behavioural ecology involving populations with a different ecology about the selection pressures that are relevant to natural and sexual selection including parasites, diet, habitat selection (inclusive UV radiation), costs of choice, alternative reproductive tactics using microsatellites, territory quality, population density.

  • field and laboratory studies on the role of natural and sexual selection in avoiding inbreeding in populations of different effective population size including the estimation of inbreeding coefficients using microsatellite markers, studies on the effects of inbreeding, mate choice and relatedness, choice behaviour as to relatedness and familiarity.

 

For that purpose we use various experimental techniques, such as:

  • behavioural observations
  • breeding
  • scanning electron microscopy
  • reflection spectrophotometry
  • digital photography
  • molecular genetic analyses (PCR, microsatellites)
  • computer animations
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