Models to understand the mating system of the bitterling fishes
Speaker: Dr Carl Smith (Scottish Oceans Institute)
Bitterling are small fish that lay their eggs in the gills of living freshwater mussels. Over the past 16 years I have undertaken research on these fascinating animals to understand their relationship with mussels and their mating system. Female bitterling make sophisticated decisions about which mussel to lay their eggs in and choose mates based on genetic compatibility. Males are sensitive to the risk of sperm competition from rivals and modulate the way in which they distribute sperm in space and time. The bitterling mating system lends itself to experimental studies, but also to a mathematical approach to develop new hypotheses and predictions. In this talk I will outline the mating system of bitterling and suggest questions that might benefit from a modelling approach.