Abstracts (first author)


Warning signals and handicap theory

Author(s): Holen ØH, Svennungsen TO


Aposematism has often been seen as a dynamical, transient phenomenon that can be destabilised by the appearance of undefended cheater prey (mimics). Recent theoretical work has made it clear that warning signals can also be evolutionarily stable and honest. Signalling theory predicts that an honest signalling system can contain a limited number of cheats without being destabilised as long as the system remains 'honest on average'. Somewhat analogous to this, a game theoretical analysis of three different mechanisms for honest warning signalling predicted an overall positive relationship between conspicuousness and defence across prey, given that signals were honest on average. Here we extend this analysis further and identify mechanisms for honest warning signalling that do not give rise to a positive relation between conspicuousness and defence. Some complicating factors include tradeoffs between warning signals and life-history traits, and non-monotonic relations between prey aversion and toxicity that may arise when predators can taste-reject prey.

Abstracts (coauthor)


Epigenetic variation is one causal mechanism for phenotypic variation, and epigenetic rearrangements are thought to be involved in many cases of adaptive phenotypic plasticity. In environments that are temporally autocorrelated the phenotype of successfully reproducing individuals, and thus their epigenetic state, is predictive of the selective environment that will face their offspring. Some degree of epigenetic inheritance may therefore be beneficial in variable environments. Assuming that transmission of epigenetic markers is under genetic control we develop a model to explore the patterns of epigenetic inheritance in an organism that invades previously uncolonized and spatially variable areas. We find that the optimal degree of epigenetic inheritance does indeed vary across the invasion front: epigenetic transmission tends to be less faithful at the front than in areas that have been colonized for longer, where more stable epialleles may be the norm. We relate our results to the spatial structure of the environment and the dispersal kernel of the organism.


Chairman: Octávio S. Paulo
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XIV Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology

Organization Team
Department of Animal Biology (DBA)
Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon
P-1749-016 Lisbon


Computational Biology & Population Genomics Group