Office of Research, UC Riverside
Marlene Zuk
Adjunct Professor
Evolution, Ecology & Orgns Bio
mzuk@ucr.edu
(951) 827-5903


The role of behavior in the establishment of novel traits

AWARD NUMBER
005282-002
FUND NUMBER
22328
STATUS
Closed
AWARD TYPE
3-Grant
AWARD EXECUTION DATE
8/8/2011
BEGIN DATE
8/1/2011
END DATE
7/31/2014
AWARD AMOUNT
$300,000

Sponsor Information

SPONSOR AWARD NUMBER
IOS-1122244
SPONSOR
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
SPONSOR TYPE
Federal
FUNCTION
Organized Research
PROGRAM NAME

Proposal Information

PROPOSAL NUMBER
11073502
PROPOSAL TYPE
New
ACTIVITY TYPE
Basic Research

PI Information

PI
Zuk, Marlene
PI TITLE
Other
PI DEPTARTMENT
Evolution, Ecology & Orgns Bio
PI COLLEGE/SCHOOL
College of Nat & Agr Sciences
CO PIs

Project Information

ABSTRACT

The Pacific field cricket has been introduced to Hawaii, where it is subject to a parasitoid fly that finds its host by listening to the calling song of the male crickets and depositing larvae that burrow inside the cricket and eventually kill it. This puts the cricket in a dilemma, because calling is his means to attract a mate, but also places him in danger. In some Hawaiian populations, 50-90% of the male crickets now have a mutated wing that lacks the apparatus necessary for calling. They are thus unable to call, which protects them from the fly, but they then face challenges attracting a mate. This project examines the consequences of such extraordinarily rapid evolution (the change occurred over 16-20 generations) for the mating behavior of the crickets. The hypothesis for the ability of this novel mutation to become established is that pre-existing behavioral plasticity has enabled the silent crickets to achieve reproductive success. The mutation and its effects will be monitored in the field, and laboratory experiments will examine how early experience with the acoustic environment influences mating behavior. During presentations to university students and the public this research provides a compelling introduction to many topics in evolutionary biology and animal behavior because it features familiar animals ? crickets ? in an attractive place ? Hawaii ? evading an unpleasant ?Alien?-like parasite via natural selection, which then places the males in a dilemma with regard to reproduction.
(Abstract from NSF)