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Ecology and Evolutionary Biology pres.

CANCELED: EEB Seminar Series: Robots, telemetry, & the sex lives of wild birds: using technology to study courtship and conservation

Gail L. Patricelli, Professor & Chancellor’s Fellow, Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis

bird in snow bird in snow
bird in snow
Dr. Patricelli's travel plans were canceled due to the polar vortex. Organizers hope to reschedule in the fall.

Males in many species must convince females to mate by producing elaborate courtship displays tuned to female preferences, like the song of a cricket or the train of a peacock. But courtship in many species is more like a negotiation than an advertisement, thus in addition to elaborate signals, success in courtship may require tactical skills. These skills may include the ability to choose a flattering display site, respond appropriately to female courtship signals, and adjust display investment in response to the marketplace of other males and females. My lab has been investigating courtship negotiations in greater sage-grouse, which mate in an open marketplace of competing males and choosing females (the lek). I will discuss experiments using robotic females to investigate courtship interactions between the sexes. I will also discuss ongoing research investigating how off-lek foraging behaviors affect on-lek displays, and how this basic science has informed my lab's research into human impacts on lekking activities.
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