On Monday 30th April ACCE will be hosting the APS departmental seminar. On the basis of suggestions from ACCE students, we’ve invited Amanda Bretman, an evolutionary ecologist specialising in sexual selection and social behaviours. Please do come along to support this seminar and find out more about Amanda’s research. You can read the abstract for her talk below.
When: Monday, 30 April
What time: 13:00 – 14:00
Where: Alfred Denny Lecture Theatre 1
Presenter: Dr Amanda Bretman, University of Leeds, Biology
No fly is an island: How Drosophila respond to socio-sexual environments
We all modify our behaviour in different social situations to adapt, fit in or to become more competitive. Fruit flies also have complex social lives, aggregating independently of any resources, engaging in social learning, forming social networks and having a genetic propensity for different types of social environments. Using Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies as a model, we can investigate both the fitness consequences of changes in the social environment and the mechanisms by which individuals can respond to such changes.
One aspect of the social environment that has a particular impact on males is how much mating competition (both before and after mating) they encounter. Theory predicts that if males can mate more than once they need to trade-off current and future mating opportunities, hence they should modify their mating effort at a particular mating depending on the amount of competition they face. Males of many species use plastic strategies to cope with this uncertainty, taking cues from the presence of other males or the mating status of females, and making adjustments to behaviour and ejaculate content accordingly. In D. melanogaster, after being exposed to a potential competitor, males mate for longer and transfer a higher quality ejaculate. This has fitness benefits, at least in the short term, but is costly, strong selective pressure for mechanisms that allow males to make the right decisions. By combining behavioural and life history data with transgenics, transcriptomics and epigenetics, we can investigate how such responses are coordinated and regulated, an important step in understanding how sophisticated, flexible social behaviours evolve.
Amanda agreed to participate in an ACCE Careers Cafe after the seminar, and she will be sharing her career path and journey in academia after PhD.
The ACCE Career Cafe will take place in the APS, Common room, 3-4 pm
Come and join us for coffee and cake and academic career chat.