Ecology and evolution of female mating preferences under size-selective fishing

Department of Ecology and Evolution, School of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Davnah Urbach

Davnah Urbach

In this project, I will focus on the ecological and evolutionary effects of size-selective fishing on stocks with female mating preferences. In particular, I will examine (i) if the maladaptation of female preferences can reduce the yield, stability, or recovery potential of exploited stocks, (ii) if size-selective fishing is likely to cause evolutionary changes in the mating strategies adopted by females, and (iii) how trajectories and outcomes of female preference evolution depend on harvesting regimes, natural ecological conditions, life-history traits, and the initial preference of females. To address these questions, I will develop an individual-based eco-genetic model describing an iteroparous species, in which both mate choice and harvesting are size-dependent. Populations will be structured with respect to age, size, and sex, and individual females will be characterized by their mate preference. Female preferences for male size will be directional, implying preferences increasing with the size of males, or matching, implying size-assortative mating. Harvesting strategies will either correspond to a minimum-size limit or to a size-slot prescription.

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Last edited: 25 March 2016

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