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Maria R. Servedio


Professor

Contact Information

Office: 234A Wilson Hall
Email: servedio[at]email.unc.edu
Office Phone: (919) 843-2692
Lab Phone: (919) 843-2320

Servedio Lab Website

Education

A.B., Harvard College
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Research Description

At a Glance

  • Speciation and the evolution of premating isolation
  • Sexual selection and the evolution of mate choice
  • Learning and cultural evolution
  • Evolution of behavior

Synopsis

I am interested in a broad range of topics from evolutionary genetics to behavioral ecology. I explore these topics through the techniques of theoretical biology. My main goal is to use mathematical models to integrate rigorous evolutionary theory with hypotheses explaining behavioral and ecological patterns and phenomena. I am excited to provide integrated approaches to these questions by combining mathematical with experimental, genetic, and comparative techniques through collaborations with students and colleagues.

A large portion of my current work explores mechanisms that drive speciation through the evolution of premating isolation. One of the primary adaptive hypotheses for this evolution is that it occurs through the process of reinforcement, where it is driven by selection against the production of unfit hybrids. I have been exploring reinforcement by trying to pinpoint the forces of selection and genetic associations that cause evolution of alleles for female preferences for conspecific males. A current focus in this area is how speciation processes are affected when mating preferences and/or mating cues are influenced by learning.

An additional area of interest is mate choice, with a particular focus on male mate choice. I have used several different approaches to explore the question of whether male mate choice would be expected to evolve during polygyny. Other projects on mate choice include the effects and evolution of learning on sexual selection.

For more information, please see my lab web page.