Sexual Conflict

Males and females share the majority of their genetic material but are often subject to very different forms of selection. This poses special challenges for understanding evolutionary change. Our work on sexual conflict is aimed at understanding the implications for local adaptation and how conflict is resolved.

Natural Selection

Anolis lizards represent one of the best examples of a vertebrate adaptive radiation on the planet. Despite many decades of research focused on these little lizards, only recently have studies begun to investigate how natural selection shapes diversity within species. We have been using experimental manipulations of whole island populations to understand the contributions of predation, competition, and habitat use in shaping the adaptive surface.

Costs of Reproduction

It is an axiom of biology that investment in reproduction reduces both future reproductive effort and a female’s probability of survival. We have been experimentally manipulating the degree to which females invest in reproduction to better understand the range of costs imposed by investment in egg production. Anoles are different from most lizards in that they have evolved to lay only one egg at a time. Surprisingly, the costs of reproduction remain severe.

Maintenance of Polymorphism

Genetically-based polymorphisms present unique opportunities to study the maintenance of variation in nature. We recently described a female-limited dorsal pattern polymorphism in anoles that has a genetic basis and have been working to understand the relative importance of selection and gene-flow in maintaining this variation in the wild.

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Ontogenetic Conflict

Broadening our work on sexual conflict from the previous decade, we are now investigating the ways in which selection operates differentially on alternative life history stages. Using wood frogs, we’re investigating the special challenges that arise when selection has to build two very different body plans in the same individual (e.g., tadpoles and frogs). We combine this work with a study of the unique challenges faced by frogs that have to breed in human altered habitats.