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Flavia Barbosa  

205 Tucker Hall
Division of Biological Sciences
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211
phone: (573) 882-4189
fax: (573) 882-0123

I am a PhD studend co-advised by Rex Cocroft and Carl Gerhardt.

Click [here] to see my CV.

Research interests  
In species where females mate multiply, female choice can continue during and after copulation by biasing paternity towards preferred males (cryptic female choice). I am studying the role of copulatory courtship in cryptic female choice in the soldier fly Merosargus cingulatus (Diptera: Stratiomyidae). Merosargus cingulatus males perform copulatory courtship (courtship during copulation). This behavior occurs only after copulation has begun, and thus can not be aimed at attracting mates. Therefore, copulatory courtship likely evolved under sexual selection through cryptic female choice.

Above: Photo by Alex Baugh. Below: photo by Eduardo Paschoalini.

Above: Field work in Gamboa, Panama. Photo by Bill Eberhard. Below: photo by Eduardo Paschoalini

In a previous study conducted in Gamboa, Panama, I have demonstrated that cryptic female choice occurs in M. cingulatus , and one of its mechanisms is female control of oviposition timing. A female can bias paternity towards a male by ovipositing soon after mating with him and before she mates with another male, since there is last male sperm precedence in this species. This means that if a female mates with a second male before ovipositing, she will greatly decrease the first male's reproductive success.    

Right now I am looking at the effects of different components of the copulatory courtship behavior on female response. If the intensity of courtship is under selection by cryptic female choice through alteration of reproductive investment in M. cingulatus , I expect to see a positive correlation between the amount of courtship a male provides and the number of eggs laid by the female.

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