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NIMBioS Seminar Series

In conjunction with the interdisciplinary activities of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a seminar series on topics in mathematical biology will be hosted at NIMBioS every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) in the Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd. Seminar speakers will focus on their research initiatives at the interface of mathematics and many areas of the life sciences. Light refreshments will be served in Room 205 beginning 30 minutes before each talk. Faculty and students from across the UT community are welcome to join us.

M. Servedio photo.

Speaker: Dr. Maria Servedio, Biology, Univ. of North Carolina; Handling Editor, Evolution
Time/Date: Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 3:30 p.m.*
Location: Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Topic: Models and Mechanisms of Male Mate Choice
Abstract: Male mate choice in polygynous systems differs from female mate choice in fundamental ways. Mathematical models of the process uncover a hidden competition cost that makes the evolution of male preferences very difficult. I will first present a null model that pinpoints this cost. I will then explore three categories of mechanisms that would seem to have the potential to allow male preferences to evolve despite this cost: characteristics of the female trait, characteristics of the male behavior, and alterations of the mating system.

Maria Servedio is a professor of biology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research centers on determining the evolutionary mechanisms that produce and maintain biodiversity. A particular focus is species-specific mate choice, one of the most powerful and fundamental mechanisms that maintain species integrity for co-occurring and closely related animal species. Another focus addresses fundamental questions in mate choice evolution. In addition to these two major foci, several side projects address other questions of interest in evolution and behavior, including work on the evolution and effects of learning.

*Join us for refreshments at 3 p.m.

Seminar Flyer (pdf)

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For more information about this and other NIMBioS Seminars, visit

M. Servedio.

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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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