Evolution of elaborate parental care: genetic architecture and selection

Project Details

Key findings

Main achievements include the development of a new theoretical model exploring the conditions favouring the evolution of elaborate forms of parental care comprising multiple suites of parental and offspring traits. The model shows that the evolution of parental food provisioning can be driven by mutual reinforcement between parental food provisioning, nest site selection and sibling competition.
Furthermore, the project has produced published experimental work showing that parents control the transition to nutritional independence, that post-hatching parental care masks the initial effects of egg size on offspring fitness, and that parental care can lead to intergenerational effects of inbreeding whereby inbreeding in parents has a detrimental effect on the fitness of outbred offspring.
Finally, the project has produced results on the genetic basis of suites of parental and offspring traits based on a combination of breeding designs, and selection and cross-fostering experiments. The results are in the process of being analysed statistically.
Effective start/end date1/08/0931/01/13


  • NERC: £442,011.00


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