Dr. Bryan Neff
University of Western Ontario

Mating systems and the evolution of alternative mating tactics in bluegill.

I will discuss three major areas of my lab's research on bluegill comprising mating systems, sperm competition, and life history evolution.  I will detail the phenotypic correlates of mating success in a naturally breeding colony and show that parasitic males called sneakers or satellites are superior sperm competitors to care-providing males called parentals. Using underwater video, I will show how these parasitic males out-compete their rivals during sperm competition. In response to this cuckoldry, I will show that parentals use multiple cues to assess their paternity and adjust their care behaviour accordingly. Finally, I will discuss the evolutionary mechanisms that might underlie the parasitic and care-providing life histories in bluegill.