Research Fellows Directory
Professor Tom Tregenza
University of Exeter
My research interests are in evolutionary ecology, predominantly sexual selection and speciation. I study these questions using insect model systems, particularly field crickets and bruchid beetles Recent work in my research group has included developing new genetic techniques for assigning paternity to entire broods of offspring and studies of the influence of male ejaculates on mate search behaviour in crickets, published along with 27 other peer reviewed papers in 2008/2009. I have conducted studies examining genetic and phenotypic variation in insect populations comparing these patterns with patterns of reproductive isolation to shed light on what drives speciation. I have done experiments to reveal benefits to female crickets of mate choice and in particular of polyandry. These studies have been featured in recent undergraduate text-books and similar experiments have now been conducted in a large number of taxa, revealing a general pattern that females that mate to more than one male have higher embryo viability than monandrous females.
I have published a number of conceptual and review articles on the role of conflicts of interest between males and females in sexual selection. I have also authored reviews on sexual selection and speciation, the potential for females to choose their mates according to their compatibility with her own genetic make-up, and of the condition dependence hypothesis for the maintenance of genetic variation in sexually selected traits.