sexta-feira, 26 de junho de 2009

Palestra sobre Selecção Sexual

Aproveito ainda para fazer divulgação de uma palestra, em que a Susana Varela vai ser oradora, a decorrer na Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (FCUL). A investigadora irá divulgar, de um modo resumido, o tema desenvolvido na sua tese de doutoramento. Seguem mais informações:

Encontros Scientia

“Conspecific copying and the Cultural evolution of preferences:
The selection of breeding commodities through public information, and its consequences to the evolution of species”


Membro Associado Doutorado do Centro de Biologia Ambiental (CBA)


Choosing where to breed and with whom to mate are two of the most important fitness-enhancing decisions in an animal’s life. Animals are thus expected to have developed mechanisms of active preference for those habitats and mates that are more likely to lead to the production of viable offspring. This implies that animals use some information about environmental quality to identify which of the existing alternatives is likely to be the most advantageous.
Four strategies are therefore possible: either they choose independently from conspecifics by relying on the information (1) encoded in their genes, (2) transmitted early in life by their parents, (3) acquired personally by directly assessing the environment, or (4) they choose non-independently, by relying on public information derived from the reproductive performance of conspecifics as a way of reducing prospecting time and, hence, the energy invested in sampling the environment.
Public information or, more specifically, inadvertent social information, has only recently been proposed as a reliable and parsimonious approach to make reproductive decisions. Numerous empirical, theoretical and experimental studies have already provided evidence for the use of this type of information in several species of birds, fish and mammals. With my experiments on Drosophila melanogaster, I provide the first evidence that invertebrates can use public information for choosing mates, suggesting that such a strategy is probably widespread in nature.
One consequence of using PI for breeding habitat and mate selection is the copying of successful conspecific choices by multiple individuals attempting to benefit from the same favourable environmental conditions. The mechanism of mate-choice copying may thus lead to the development of “cultural” preferences for certain habitat and mate types, which may differ from innate preferences, inherited genetically. I will discuss how public and genetic information may balance each other in shaping animal reproductive preferences, and the extent to which culturally transmitted preferences may possibly affect species’ evolution.

4ª feira, 1 de Julho de 2009
FCUL- Edif. C2- Piso 2- Anf. 2.2.14 - 12:00-13:00h

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