Lorch Lab

female Mormon cricket with transmitter

photo credit to Dr. Darryl T. Gwynne

Research in this lab focuses on how natural selection and sexual selection interact. Specifically, we are interested in how natural selection on traits that are closely related to fitness (life history traits) affects the strength of sexual selection and visa versa. For example, why is female-biased size dimorphism sometimes explained in terms of natural selection for high female fecundity (e.g., in insects, birds of prey) and other times explained in terms of sexual selection on females (e.g., in shorebirds)? Does one kind of selection predominate in some situations and not in others? We use both lab and field experiments along with theory and computer simulations to explore how natural and sexual selection interact. For example, we are currently studying how social interactions affect both insect movement and mating behavior.  At another very different level, we study how the interplay between natural and sexual selection may cause differences between the sexes in meiotic recombination rates on autosomes.

Great YouTube video (produced by New Scientist; see Media Coverage page for details) and about what we have learned about Mormon cricket bands:

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