Individual variation in mate preference in great tits (Parus major)

Lies Zandberg (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationPublic lecture/debate/seminar

Description

When all individuals have similar mate preferences, variation within a population should decrease, known as the ‘lek paradox’. One possible solution to this paradox may be that individuals differ in mate preference. Variation in preference may weaken the directional selection on traits and may thereby allow diversity to persist. We tested for individual differences in great tit mate preferences, and whether these preferences varied depending on the choosers own traits, since this would affect the relative benefit of complementary traits in their partner. Using a six-choice test 70 males and females were tested for their mate preference. Preference functions were calculated for several phenotypic and genetic traits, among which plumage ornaments, personality and heterozygosity. We found evidence for an important role for genetic traits in individual preferences, and complementary preferences depending on the choosers traits. Such non directional mate preferences have implications for the maintenance of variation in nature.
Period4 Aug 2016
Event titleISBE2016 16th Conference of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology
Event typeConference
Conference number16
LocationExeter, United Kingdom