Since Darwin, pre-mating sexual selection and male-male conflict have been recognized as potent evolutionary forces. Only in recent decades have biologists realized that females often mate multiply, allowing males to continue to compete after mating in the form of sperm competition. Male-male competition clearly shapes a multitude of morphological and behavioral adaptations, but its role in genetic divergence is less understood.
The Finseth lab seeks to understand 1) the role of male-male competition in genetic divergence and 2) the genetic basis of adaptations to male-male competition. Previously, we focused on the evolution of a novel foam gland (left) that male Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) that produces a meringue-like foam. Currently, we maintain interests in the role that pollen competition plays in Mimulus divergence.