Independent Minds, Working Together
Laura Sirot

Laura Sirot

Assistant Professor - On leave Spring 2014

Department/Affiliation: Biology
Phone: 330-263-2341
Office Address: 105 Mateer
Email
Website

Degrees

  • B.S., Univerisity of Michigan 1992
  • M.A., University of Michigan 1993
  • M.Sc., University of Florida 1999
  • Ph.D, University of Florida 2004

Courses Taught

  • BIOL200: Foundations of Biology
  • BIOL202: Gateway to Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
  • BIOL352: Animal Behavior
  • BIOL323: Natural History of the Invertebrates

Interests

Males and females can profoundly influence the reproductive success of their mates both during and after copulation. In some cases, these influences benefit both sexes, for example when a male provides his mate with a nuptial gift that increases the number of progeny that arise from their mating. In other cases, these influences benefit one sex and are costly to the other sex. For example, a male may prevent his mate from remating with another male, thereby increasing his own reproductive success (by avoiding sperm competition) but preventing the female from receiving benefits of mating multiply (e.g., sperm from a better male; avoidance of an infertile mating; nutritional or other direct benefits). Interactions that benefit one sex but are costly to the other sex can result in sexually antagonistic selection. Females faced with costly male adaptations may evolve strategies of their own that allow them to circumvent male control.

The questions that drive my research are:

  • What are the mechanisms by which males and females influence the outcome of mating interactions
  • Are these influences beneficial or costly to the other sex?
  • How do these male- and female-derived influences interact to generate diverse insect mating systems

By answering these questions, my research contributes to our understanding of sexual selection, sexual conflict, and mating system evolution. Insects offer fascinating systems in which to explore these questions because of the range of variation both within and between species and because they are so easy to work with. In addition, many insects play a key role in agriculture and disease spread or are important conservation targets, thus, my studies of variation in reproductive behavior can provide insights into insect management.