John L. Fitzpatrick

PhD Stockholm University Natural sciences Year of admission: 2016

Are animals’ sexual traits governed by how they reproduce?
Why haven’t mammals developed the same beautiful colours as birds – even though mammals also need to attract a partner in order to reproduce? Wallenberg Academy Fellow John Fitzpatrick will investigate how animals’ traits and sexual behaviours have been affected by evolutionary transitions from one method of reproduction to another.

Dr. John Fitzpatrick from Stockholm University will investigate whether the way an animal reproduces influences how evolution acts on their sexual behaviours and traits by analyzing what happened at the transition from one method of reproduction to another. For example, how has a species been affected by starting to give birth to live young instead of laying eggs? Or when it has moved from external to internal fertilization?

He will analyze the family tree of animal life to see whether different evolutionary transitions can be linked to changes in sexual traits. He will also analyze in greater detail fish in the “live-bearing tooth-carps” family, where male sexual behaviours range from non-courting to elaborate courtship displays to attract females. His aim is the comprehensive understanding of sexual evolution in the family tree of animal life.

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Photo: Markus Marcetic