NEW PUBLICATION: EFFECTS OF REFUGE SIZE VARIATION ON POTENTIAL FOR SPERM COMPETITION IN WELLINGTON TREE WETA
It's been a while since we last posted, but rest assured the Kelly lab has been hard at work! Previous post-doc Tina Wey and Clint have had an article accepted in Current Zoology on how variation in tree cavity size might affect the potential for sperm competition in Wellington tree weta. This study was a great way to knit together Dr. Wey's expertise in social networks with Dr. Kelly's study system, bringing us closer to understanding how sexual selection works in this fascinating New Zealand species. Find the article here!
A quick video our MSc student Sarah cut together showing one of our adult wētā eating his old moult! When they've just moulted, wētā are a pale/white-ish colour. Over the next few hours, this male will turn the customary brown colour we're used to seeing.
For the past few years, our lab has been refining techniques for raising and keeping weta in the lab. Previously, we had been supplementing our colony with eggs gathered in New Zealand, but this year...we had our first generation of eggs laid in the lab hatch! And while adult weta can be pretty menacing to look at, when they've just hatched, well...
They're tiny and very cute! Successfully hatching these eggs in captivity was a big milestone for us. Interestingly, while eggs collected from New Zealand usually take ~8 months to hatch, the eggs laid in the lab took 11-12 months! We were worried they might have failed, but just a few weeks ago we started finding hatchlings rather than eggs in our incubator. Another discovery we made last week: when we temporarily shifted the hatchlings' diet from apple to carrot, we found out that these guys are what they eat (check out Mr. Orange on the left here)!
Since these hatchlings are the result of controlled matings between our adult weta, we are hoping that they will give us an idea of how heritable certain characteristics are in weta. In particular, we want to know whether the polymorphism shown by adult males (males can be one of three size-based morphs) is heritable. In the long term, this information will be used to help conservation professionals in New Zealand make decisions when translocating weta: does that polymorphism represent genetic diversity that needs to be conserved or not?
Little hatchling insects are contributing to big ideas here in the Kelly lab!
For more information on this research, you can catch our grad students Sarah Nason and Aurélie Lagueux-Beloin presenting at the Québec Centre for Biodiversity Science symposium in Montréal this December.
Clint's recent talk at the Ecological Socierty of America Annual Meeting in Portland, USA on study replication in ecology and evolution was discussed in Nature.
Talk: Ecological variation, mate sharing, and the potential for sperm competition in Wellington tree weta
Tina Wey recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship with our lab and will be presenting some of her findings at the annual conference of the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution. The talk will take place May 9th in Victoria, BC as part of a symposium entitled Ecology and Evolution in a Social Context. Drop by to check out the latest in weta research if you are attending CSEE 2017! We thank Tina for representing our research and wish her the best of luck with her talk.
We are pleased to announce that this workshop organized by Clint Kelly will be offered at Université du Québec à Montréal (SB M250) on February 22nd from 8:00-18:00. The workshop will be presented by Julie Faure-Lacroix (Université Laval), Pier-Luc St-Onge (Université McGill) and Daniel Stubbs (Université de Montréal) of Calcul Québec. Registration is free and the workshop is open to post-docs, graduate students and faculty. For more information and to register, please click here.
Our PhD student Julien Céré will be interviewed tomorrow morning February 1st on local Montréal station CISM 89,3 FM's show Le Lab, co-hosted by none other than one of our Master's students, Aurélie Lagueux-Béloin! The show will be from 9-10:30AM EST and can be listened to live or streamed anytime later online from Le Lab's website here. Julien will discuss his research regarding the applications of social network theory and game theory to video games.
We are happy to announce several recent publications from members of the Kelly lab!
Clint has co-authored a publication on sperm competition theory in the Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science with Michael Jennions and recently published a review of Cryptic Female Choice in Arthropods: Patterns, Mechanisms and Prospects in The Quarterly Review of Biology.
Our postdoctoral fellow Tina Wey has also recently co-authored two publications: a short review on animal social networks in Behavioural Ecology and an article on personality and social plasticity in water striders in Journal of Animal Ecology.
The Kelly Lab is pleased to welcome three new MSc students this fall: Sarah Nason, Éloïse Adam-Granger and Valérie L'Heureux. Learn more about their projects here!
Brittany Tawes (grad student from Iowa State University) has published her masters research on catch-up growth in crickets in Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. Great work Brittany!