Why do (apparently) lazy parents still exist?

Event type: 
25 August 2017
3.00 pm

Mathews Theatre C, UNSW

Dr Joel Pick

Despite the degree to which parents invest in reproduction having far reaching impacts on their offspring's future survival and reproduction, a large amount of (heritable) variation in parental investment is seen in the wild. Although the mechanism behind the maintenance of this variation is well theorised, convincing empirical evidence is still lacking. There are two main challenges to this; firstly to reliably identify parental investment and it's consequences for offspring, and secondly to identify the costs and constraints limiting parental investment. Using birds as a model system, I will present the experimental, observational and statistical methods that I have used to explore the physiological costs and environmental and genetic constraints that may limit the flexibility and evolution of parental care. 

Bio: Joel Pick did his undergraduate and Masters at the University of Sheffield, UK with Ben Hatchwell. He moved to Zurich, Switzerland to do his PhD in the group of Barbara Tschirren on prenatal maternal investment in birds. He was then awarded a SNSF postdoctoral fellowship, during which he has worked at both the University of Sheffield, UK and UNSW in the group of Shinichi Nakagawa. He will soon be moving to the University of Edinburgh, UK to take a post-doctoral position with Jarrod Hadfield. His work focuses predominantly on the interactions between parents and offspring, and in particular on the causes and consequence of variation in parental investment in birds. He is also interested in statistical methodology, such as quantitative genetic modelling, comparative and meta-analysis.