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Does directional selection on fighter males have correlated effects on the scrambler male phenotype of bulb mites?

Grant number: 23/17564-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 02, 2024
Effective date (End): May 02, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Glauco Machado
Grantee:Diego Esteban Solano Brenes
Supervisor: Bruno Alves Buzatto
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Flinders University, Australia  
Associated to the scholarship:21/03200-7 - Pre and post copulatory processes in harvestmen with male dimorphism and alternative reporductive tactics, BP.DR


This research aims to unravel the genetic underpinnings of phenotypic plasticity in the mite Rhizoglyphus echinopus, which exhibits two male morphs: fighters and scramblers. While fighter males possess modified legs for fighting, scramblers lack these traits. Using artificial selection techniques, the research explores the unobservable aspects of plastic traits, such as genetic thresholds regulating their expression and genetic correlations restricting their evolution. In order to investigate the effects of selecting for thicker legs in fighters on the fitness of scramblers, the study evaluates longevity, mating success, and fighting ability through controlled experiments. The project seeks to reveal the consequences of selection on one phenotype, the genetic constraints for divergence between alternative phenotypes, and the driving forces behind their evolution. This project will shed light on the intricate mechanisms underlying phenotypic plasticity and its implications for evolutionary change.

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