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Using network analyses to explore the mechanisms underlying female choice of extra-pair mates

Grant number: 13/13632-5
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2013
Effective date (End): January 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal researcher:Glauco Machado
Grantee:Danilo Germano Muniz da Silva
Supervisor abroad: Shinichi Nakagawa
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Otago, New Zealand  
Associated to the scholarship:11/12795-2 - Effects of the availability of egg-laying sites on the mating system of the harvestman Serracutisoma proximum (Arachnida: Opiliones), BP.DR


The classic Darwin-Bateman paradigm of sexual selection states that females gain no benefits by mating with multiple males, and so polyandry should be rare. Recent evidence, however, shows that polyandry is widespread across many animal groups, and that multiple matings by females generate additional episodes of sexual selection, which modulate the total strength of sexual selection. Extra-pair copulations increase or introduce polyandry in mating systems, and its widespread occurrence raises questions about the benefits gained by females seeking additional matings. The main hypotheses to explain extra-pair copulations are that females mate with additional males to ensure fertilization or to obtain indirect benefits either by seeking good genes or increasing offspring heterozygosity. However, restrictions to female behavior as mate guarding by their social partners and distance between territories are seldom taken into account. Sexual interactions connect individuals within populations, forming sexual networks. The structure of these sexual networks may contain information about the underlying processes shaping sexual interactions. In this project, we propose to combine empirical data from extensive fieldwork and a network modeling approach to explore the mechanisms underlying extra-pair copulations in a small passerine bird, the dunnock (Prunella modularis). We propose a model that includes genetic relatedness among individuals, their status in the social groups, possible effects of mate guarding, and spatial distribution of the territories. Results of this model can provide insightful ideas on what factors influence the distribution of extra-pair copulations among individuals in a wild population. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
MUNIZ, DANILO G.; SANTOS, EDUARDO S. A.; GUIMARAES, JR., PAULO R.; NAKAGAWA, SHINICHI; MACHADO, GLAUCO. A multinomial network method for the analysis of mate choice and assortative mating in spatially structured populations. METHODS IN ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, v. 8, n. 10, p. 1321-1331, . (12/20468-4, 15/10448-4, 12/50229-1, 13/13632-5)
MUNIZ, DANILO G.; MACHADO, GLAUCO. Mate sampling influences the intensity of sexual selection and the evolution of costly sexual ornaments. Journal of Theoretical Biology, v. 447, p. 74-83, . (12/20468-4, 12/50229-1, 13/13632-5)

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