Project Description: 

Sexual selection is one of the major forces that give rise to some of the most spectacular sexual dimorphic traits seen in animals. Among them, some individuals evolved weaponry to compete for access to potential mates, while others evolved complex signaling through one or more sensory channels to persuade individuals to mate. However, despite the generality of sexual selection, not much research has focused on animals that perform extreme complex displays. Studying how and why some animals have evolved more complex sexual selected signals is key to understand sexual selection.

Male Habronattus jumping spiders have colorful ornamentation and court females with complex visual and vibratory displays. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the adaptive value of complexity, including fine-scale species recognition. The current project aims to quantify signaling between Habronattus species, to explore the evolution of different signals. The project predominantly involves categorizing and analyzing video and sound data. 

Undergraduate's Role: 

Undergraduates will assist in lab colony maintenance, sound data processing using Raven, and data analysis using R, python, or other programming languages. 

Undergraduate's Qualifications: 

Interest in animal signals. Coursework in Animal Behavior, Evolution, basic coding is suggested. Experience with linguistics is preferred but not required. 

On Campus
6-9 hours