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Participants: Prof. John A. Endler (PI); Dr.
Aims and background: Almost all studies of sexual selection are concerned with visual or auditory signals, and other modes are grossly neglected. Fish have a structure called the lateral line which is sensitive to water motion. Male guppies court females with a sigmoid display which involves rapid motion and this motion may induce motion in the female's lateral line, and hence transmit a signal which may be used in mate choice. The aim of this project is to quantify the sigmoid display, measure the water flow and investigate is function in female choice of displaying males.
Scientific significance and innovation: This will be the first investigation of the use of the lateral line in studies of mate choice and will yield valuable information on the function of the lateral line. It will also yield information on a poorly sense which is used by more than 20,000 species.
Potential national benefit and strategic alignment with the aims of the CIE: This will advance our fundamental understanding of the evolution of animal communication and both animal signal structure and function and yield completely new information on the function of a poorly studied sensory system. It combines behavioural ecology, evolutionary biology, biophysics/biomechanics, and animal physiology. The putative integrative nature of this project is central to the aims of the CIE.