Exactly what behavioral mechanisms determine variation in male mating success is important because different mechanisms may have different evolutionary consequences. In addition to competition for mates and mate choice, indirect mate choice can cause sexual selection on male traits. This is when females have preferences for "external traits" determined by male competition.
One suggested example is when females prefer to mate at certain sites that males fight over, claimed to be important in lekking animals. However, a new report published in the August 2005 issue of The American Naturalist finds that female great snipes are not attracted to centrally located males or previously popular sites on mating arenas (leks). The findings, which question the widespread beliefs about the lek mating system, were gathered by a team of Norwegian and Swedish biologists from a long-term study in the Norwegian mountains.
The team collected a large dataset during 14 years of studying great snipe at leks in the mountains of Norway, including nearly 1500 mating events and hundreds of individually marked males and females. They mapped every observed mating, kept track of where individual females mated from year to year, and where individual males held their territories. They conclude that great snipe females are certainly very choosy about with whom they mate, but not at all based on the outcome of male competition or other "external" cues. In this bird, females are in control of mating and it seems that males cannot improve their own mating success by performing well in competitive interaction with other males. This is very different from some other lek-systems, where male competition is indeed important.
Carrie Olivia Adams | EurekAlert!
Rochester scientists discover gene controlling genetic recombination rates
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Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
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Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
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