"Sexual Selection in Harvested Populations: Evolution of Female Mating Preference Under Size-Selective Fishing"
Dr. Davnah Urbach
Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Ecology and Evolution Program
International Institute for Applied System Analysis, Austria
October 24, 2008
12:20 - 1:10 pm
124 Marsh Life Sciences Building
In recent years, fishing has been recognized as a major selective force driving the evolution of life history traits. Accordingly, considerable effort has been devoted to the understanding and the prediction of the evolutionary consequences of selective fishing and to a progressive shift away from the classical yield-focused management paradigm. Yet, little attention has so far been paid to the contribution of sexual selection to the evolutionary outcomes of selective harvesting, and to the role for selective harvesting in driving the evolution of reproductive strategies. We developed an individual-based eco-genetic model to explore 1) how different size-based mating preferences affect the demographic response of populations at the onset of fishing, and 2) how the outcomes and the trajectories of female preference evolution depend on harvesting regimes, natural ecological conditions, life history traits and the initial female preference. As a prerequisite to these investigations, we examined how different assumptions about the costs of mate discrimination affect the model outcomes. In particular, we investigated how the nature and the strength of mate discrimination costs determine 1) the populations' demographic behaviour and 2) the evolutionary trajectories of female mate preference.
Davnah Urbach studied biology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, where she received her masterís degrees in 2004 and her doctorate in Spring 2008. Since then, she has been working with Dr. Ulf Dieckmann in the Ecology and Evolution Program of the International Institute for Applied System Analysis, Austria, as a Postdoctoral Research Scholar. She is currently funded by the European Research Training Network on Fisheries-induced Adaptive Changes in Exploited Stocks (FishACE) to work on the evolution of mating traits in harvested fish populations.