Selection and constraints in the evolution of sexual dimorphism in ambush bugs

Understanding the evolution of complex characters (and whole organisms) is challenging because 1) selection simultaneously acts on many traits and 2) many of these traits are genetically and/or phenotypically correlated.   Modern evolutionary biology is equipped with the tools to predict immediate evolutionary change from microevolutionary parameters yet, how processes acting on the micro scale (i.e. within species) translate to patterns at the macro level (i.e. between species) is poorly understood. In particular, little is known regarding the importance of constraints imposed by genetic architecture at long timescales as well as how genetic architecture is, itself, shaped by selection. My research evaluates the relative importance of genetic constraints (estimated from standing trait variance) versus selection (estimated from the wild) for divergence within the genus Phymata, a group that exhibits remarkable diversity in form and colouration.

Principal Investigator: Locke Rowe

Researcher: David Punzalan

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