Research objectives and content
Evolutionary ecology is concerned with how individuals' properties relate to their reproductive success. When attempting to monopolize a vital resource, the distinction between success and failure is at its starkest. Contest outcomes are predicted to be influenced by factors such as fighting ability, ownership status and resource value. These may confound and determining which best account(s) for observations can be problematical. Bethylid wasps are ideal for research in this area: they have simple life-histories and direct competitive interactions occur when females dispute possession of a host (vital for reproduction). Fighting ability, ownership status and resource value can be controlled by manipulating, respectively, contestant size, prior experience and host size and/or female egg load. Generalized linear modeling, a powerful and suitable technique for contest outcome analysis, will be used to determine the importance of these variables.
There will be active interaction with students and staff of the host institute.