I am interested in understanding how social interactions, both inter- and intra-sexual, affect the reproductive patterns of Drosophila melanogaster.
Drosophila engage in a wide variety of social interactions, most of which likely involve chemical communication through cuticular hydrocarbons or pheromones. Individual’s cuticular hydrocarbon profiles and mating patterns vary with changing social context (Krupp 2008), suggesting that closer examination of an individual’s position within their social environment may uncover patterns of underlying mechanisms in their reproductive behaviours. Expanding on the social network approach first introduced by J. Schneider (2011) I hope to identify relationships between networks of different interaction types (courtship, mating, aggression) in the same group of interacting individuals.
With an understanding of how one interaction type influences another we can begin to ask more specific questions like: whether courtship networks are reliable predictors of mating networks? Do aggressive males really benefit in terms of increased mating opportunities? What effect does changing the social context have on reproductive interaction patterns?