An Integrative Evolutionary Approach to Examine Sexual Selection as a Mechanism of Speciation (Visiting Scholar)
As evidenced by the growing number of publications and funded studies, the role that sexual selection can play in the process of speciation has gained widespread attention. However, empirical data are rapidly accumulating without a very clear theoretical framework for the likely role of sexual selection in the evolution of reproductive isolation. The collective aim of our group is to gain a comprehensive understanding of how divergent sexual selection can drive speciation by synthesizing published theoretical and empirical work and conducting comparative studies. As was originally planned, our large group has split up into smaller working groups and we have outlined 4 major projects. We just completed our third meeting at NESCent (2010 November 12 – 16) and our expected level of productivity is high. One paper is currently review in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, with several others in excellent progress with planned submissions in early spring 2011. We were just granted a fourth meeting for our working group, which will take place in early Fall 2011. Plans are set in motion to keep the momentum on several very promising collaborative projects (weekly SKYPE meetings within smaller working groups, for example). I propose a one-week visit to NESCent to continue collaborations with Dr. Carlos Botero, a NESCent postdoctoral fellow and member of our working group. Carlos and I are currently working on 3 manuscripts; two can be finalized during a one-week visit in between meetings 3 and 4; we can make progress on the third project which will be essential for making the most of our fourth meeting with additional group members.