February 25 2019

2:00 pm Hershey Hall 158

This seminar is sponsored by Division of Life Sciences

Ximena Bernal
Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University

Ornaments, Enemies and Sensory Filters in the Evolution of Communication Systems


In most animal species, males produce conspicuous signals to attract mates such as loud and complex songs, bright and colorful body areas or strong chemical lures. Females use those ornament signals to choose a mate and males also use them to compete with rival males. This simple scenario of males displaying to potential mates and rival males has dominated our understanding of sexual selection. However, ornaments that increase attractiveness to females also make males particularly vulnerable to eavesdropper predators and parasites that exploit those signals to home in on their victim. The existence of eavesdroppers makes clear that the web of communication is much more complex than textbook versions. This more realistic perspective of communication prompts the question, how do eavesdroppers shape the evolution of mating signals? Using frog-biting midges as a case study this talk will unravel the evolutionary ecology of eavesdropping and how these unintended receivers affect the evolution of communication systems.

























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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