« Event - Evolution Mural Opening Celebration | Main | Event - Death and Ancestors in Madagascar »

April 10, 2006

Event - All in the Family

Thursday, April 13
All in the family: the ecology, evolution, & resolution
of multiway conflicts of interest in a marine snail

Dr. Richard Grosberg, University of California, Davis
Academic seminar presented by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
4-5:30 pm, Lecture Room 2, Modern Languages Building

Families are a ubiquitous and distinctively annoying venue where conflicts of interest arise between males and females, parents and offspring, and siblings. Why do females provide post-zygotic parental care in most species, males in others, and both parents in a few? Why do siblings of some species cooperate extensively, whereas others try to kill and consume each other? Are there predictable associations between patterns of parental care and the nature of interactions among siblings? How are the complex, multiway conflicts of interest among family members resolved? The mating system, because it controls patterns of relationship among family members, is one of the keys to answering such questions. Solenosteira macrospira is a buccinid whelk whose reproductive biology embodies multiple forms of family conflict, and, consequently, offers an incisive opportunity to explore the constraints and opportunities for resolving such conflicts of interest. S. macrospira females mate multiply, and package offspring in capsules, each containing 200-300 siblings. Quite remarkably, female S. macrospira (and perhaps other closely related cantharids) oviposit almost exclusively on males (>99%), and virtually never on conspecific females or other objects. Brood carrying is risky to males, because it increases their vulnerability to predators; but, it is also essential for brood survival. As in other “neogastropods”, there is often extensive predation on sibling eggs, zygotes, and embryos within egg capsules. In this talk, I will analyze the effects of the mating system on the ecology and evolution of male parental care, and the resolution of parent-offspring and sibling conflict in this, and other, polyandrous species.

Posted at April 10, 2006 12:14 PM