Reproductive Behavior and Coloration

graphAt the onset of adaptive differentiation induced by the colonization of novel environments, patterns of ancestral plasticity can determine which phenotypes are expressed, and thus influence the course of subsequent evolution. In this way, the pattern of ancestral plasticity can determine which behavioral phenotypes are expressed in a given environment and therefore, which phenotypes have the potential to evolve in response to selection. A primary focus of our research is to understand how ancestral plasticity in male nuptial coloration, male courtship behavior, and female mating preferences of threespine stickleback would have influenced the evolution of these traits in freshwater habitats that promoted the evolution of benthic (bottom-feeding) and limnetic (plankton-feeding) lacustrine populations.

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