Biological Sciences


image preview

Creation Date

Spring 2020


Although we think of sexual reproduction as inherently cooperative, it is frequently beset with conflicts of interests between the sexes. Conflict surrounds mating and the paternity of offspring: males gain by monopolizing fertilization of a female’s eggs, while females benefit by pursuing matings with other males. I investigate this conflict of the sexes in the decorated cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus; a male of this species is pictured here. My research focuses on how males manipulate females during reproduction via chemical compounds in their ejaculates, which I do by sitting in red-lit dark room and watching crickets have sex. We are not certain of the exact mechanism by which males manipulate females, but we now have reason to believe that male-derived proteins transferred at mating may be responsible. My research aims to determine the role of these proteins in manipulating female behavior and physiology, specifically female sexual receptivity and egg-laying behavior. As the mechanism underlying the female behavioral change has not been established, my work aims to take a novel functional genomics approach to deconstruct the molecular underpinnings at the heart of this sexual conflict in these crickets.