New lecturer at the School of Life Sciences, Dr Carl Soulsbury, is to feature in the New Scientist’s December edition.
Dr Soulsbury’s research focuses on life history strategies and his work with black grouse will be used to illustrate the perils of sexual selection in nature, based on the winter meeting of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour held last December on “Why do animals mate with the wrong partner”.
It is just one of a handful of examples picked from the meeting to explain how female mate choice can be complex and what can be viewed as “wrong” mates may not always actually be wrong.
Dr Soulsbury came to the University of Lincoln following a post-doc in Finland working with black grouse, said: “Black grouse are of particular interest because they have a particularly interesting mating system called lek, where the male grouse gather in open areas and display to the females. It’s quite a tough selection process and in some years, 90% of females could choose the same single male.”
As well as continuing research on black grouse, Dr Soulsbury’s future work will involve magpies and how they alter egg quality and schedule egg production to benefit their own and offspring’s future success.
Commenting on the upcoming research, Dr Soulsbury said: “You need long-term data so my hope is that I will have enough time to put things in place to start the research next spring.”
He added: “My work links with both the existing people and the other new academics here and it’s a fantastic opportunity to be a part of a research-led university.”