PhD : Evolution of paternal care and infanticide by males in mammals ~

9 de diciembre de 2010

PhD : Evolution of paternal care and infanticide by males in mammals

Dept/School School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast
PhD Supervisor(s) Dr I Capellini Prof R W Elwood

Funding Availability Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Application Deadline 10 January 2011

Paternal care and infanticide by males lie at opposite ends of a continuum of male behaviour towards infants. Hypotheses to explain the evolution of paternal care include enhanced offspring survival, male reproductive strategy to guarantee future mating opportunities or to reduce sperm competition. These hypotheses make different predictions in relation to the conditions that favoured the evolution of paternal care, such as certainty of paternity, mating system, ability of males to monopolize receptive females, presence of alternative strategies to secure paternity or simply the lack of alternative mating opportunities. Likewise, infanticide by males is supposed to enhance the likelihood of paternity of infanticidal males and its occurrence is predicted when females have relatively long lactation, are polyestrous, reproduce aseasonally, and can be monopolized.

Studies on individual species found support for each of these hypotheses but the generality of patterns and the ultimate causes of paternal care and infanticide by males remain elusive. How these behaviours associate with and affect maternal reproductive traits, such as interbirth intervals, oestrous type, polyandry, have been little investigated, and little is known about if and how paternal care and infanticide by males are evolutionary associated.

By using phylogenetic comparative methods and explicitly accounting for the species' evolutionary history, this project is the first to comprehensively investigate the evolution of paternal care and infanticide by males and its implication for female reproduction in mammals.

Funding Notes
DEL funded (Department for Employment and Learning Studentships)

For further information on this project, please contact Dr Isabella Capellini ( or Prof. Robert Elwood (

For further information on eligibility for the above funding, please visit the following website:

For further information about the School, please visit the School of Biological Sciences website:

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