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Title: Habitat composition, sexual conflict and life history evolution in Coelopa frigida
Author: Edward, Dominic Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 8236
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis describes an investigation into the effects of habitat composition, principally the composition of algae in a wrack bed, on the life history of the seaweed fly, Coelopa frigida. The mating system of C. frigida is dominated by intense sexual conflict characterised by frequent harassment by males leading to a vigorous pre-mating struggle. This response leads to sexual selection for large male size and sexual dimorphism. The mating behaviour of C. frigida is affected by their environment, with exposure to brown algae inducing harassment in males and oviposition in females. Despite more than two decades of research into coelopid reproduction little is known about how habitat composition alters the patterns and processes of sexual conflict. Studies contained in this thesis consider environmental influences that both directly and indirectly influence sexual conflict. Direct effects of the environment are measured by conducting mating trials following culture of C. frigida on different species of algae and by exposing males to different species of algae. This work is accompanied by studies of larval development and adult survival on different algae. In recent years it has been observed that the distribution of European coelopids has undergone a northward range shift. An investigation into the current distribution of European coelopid species and a discussion of the effects of climate change that may have caused this change is included. Finally, the use of stable isotope analysis to determine the diet of wild coelopids and alternative statistical methods to analyse mating trials are described.
Supervisor: Gilburn, Andre S. Sponsor: Natural Environment Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sexual conflict ; Sexual selection ; Seaweed fly ; Coelopid ; Seaweed ; Laminaria ; Fucus ; Life history ; Marine algae Utilization ; Flies Life cycles ; Insects Larvae