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Sex in space

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Danilo Germano Muniz da Silva
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Biociências (IBIOC/SB)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Glauco Machado; Regina Helena Ferraz Macedo; Paulo Enrique Cardoso Peixoto; Rafael Luís Galdini Raimundo; Gustavo Requena Santos
Advisor: Glauco Machado

The main goal of this thesis was to investigate how the spatial distribution of individuals influences the organization of the mating systems and the intensity of sexual selection. The thesis contains two empirical chapters and two chapters with a theoretical scope. In the first chapter, we investigate how the spatial distribution of harems defended by territorial males influences the sperm competition network among males of the harvestman Serracutisoma proximum. In the second chapter, we proposed a probabilistic model of mate choice that includes the spatial constraint in the analyses of mate choice. This model takes into account the fact that females are restricted to sample only some males available in the population, and that this restriction is imposed primarily by the spatial distribution of individuals. In the third chapter, we investigate the mate searching movements of the leaf beetle Leptinotarsa undecimlineata. We found that both males and females move strategically, leaving the host plant when they do not obtain copulations and seeking neighboring areas with many potential mates. Finally, in the fourth chapter, we explore the effect of spatial restrictions on mate choice. We used individual based simulations to investigate how spatial restrictions influence sexual selection and the evolution of sexually selected ornaments. We found that the higher the number of potential partners female can sample during mate choice, the more intense is sexual selection, which leads to the evolution of more exaggerated male ornaments. In addition, we analyzed a published dataset of intensity of sexual selection and found that the data adjust to the predictions made by our simulations. We conclude that the space is much more important than previously thought to mating systems organization and the intensity of sexual selection. We hope the ideas proposed here can flourish in the minds of the readers, stimulating both empirical and theoretical follow ups (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/12795-2 - Effects of the availability of egg-laying sites on the mating system of the harvestman Serracutisoma proximum (Arachnida: Opiliones)
Grantee:Danilo Germano Muniz da Silva
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate