Theoretical Ecology Group

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PhD Student, MSc
Jacqueline Weidner

As Phd Student my interests lie in sexual selection and decision-making. My supervisors are Sigrunn Eliassen and Jarl Giske.


Multiple-cue strategies in fish

Several species use multiple and often correlated cues in mate choice, but understanding how they integrate these different signals has proven challenging. In my PhD, I want to investigate the use of multiple cues for female choice in an evolutionary model that focuses on decision making in fish. In the individual-based model the male fish exert several unrelated phenotypic signals. Females pursue one of three different strategies in assessing these (see figure). Assessment of several cues can be achieved by successive bouts or combined scores for cues. Decision-making and behaviour of individuals in the model are based on adaptive heuristics processing environmental input.


Research questions:

  • Are females simultaneously assessing multiple cues in advantage?
  • Can a multiple-cue strategy reduce the total error in assessment by females, shield females from being lured by dishonest signals or reduce the energetic costs spent on searching for the «best male»?
  • Differ signals in their relevance in different environments (including population structure)?
  • Is copying older and more experienced individuals of advantage for young females?


Figure 1: Under which conditions are multiple-cue strategies most likely to evolve? Three different mate choice strategies of females. Strategies are heritable and differ in the amount of time and energy used by the female to find the “best male”.



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