Evolutionary Ecology of Reproduction Systems

Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semesters 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

1. Sexual selection, mating systems, and parental care: the evolutionary background.

2. Sexual signals in communication. Types of signals. Examples: morphological ornaments, song, UV reflectance of plumage. Multiple ornaments.

3. Theories of female mate choice. ecological and behavioural aspects.

4. Contest competition of males and male mate choice.

5. Male condition, parasites, and fluctuating asymmetry.

6. Ultimate and proximate hypotheses. Hamilton-Zuk hypothesis.

7. Empirical studies: peafowl, house sparrow, red junglefowl, tits and birds of paradise.

8. Sexual selectio and speciation.

9. Social monogamy. Obligate and facultative monogamy. Long-term pair bonds.

10. Extra-pair copulations and genetic variance. Paternity analyses. Evolutionary background.

11. Social polygyny and lek mating systems.

12. Cooperative breeding. Helpers-at-the-nest. Phylogenetic history.

13. Sex ratio. Sex ratio manipulation. Possible mechanisms. Eco-behav aspects of Incubation anf nestlig growth

14. Mixed and alternative strategies. Conclusions and and remarks for the future studies.

  • Ligon: DJ 1999: The Evolution of Avian Breeding Systems. Oxford University Press.

  • Michl G 2003: A Birder’s Guide to the Behaviour of European and North American Birds.

  • Gavia Science.

  • Searcy WA és Nowicki S 2005: The Evolution of Animal Communication. Princeton University Press. *