Jesús Martínez-Padilla - Behavioural and evolutionary ecologist

I am mainly interested in the evolutionary ecology of sexual behaviour in wild birds. Most of my work focuses on the mechanisms that explain the variation of sexual behaviour and their meaning within an evolutionary context. I use red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus), common kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) and pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca) as model species which allow me to use a combination of experimental work integrating behavioural, physiological, molecular and quantitative genetic tools. The following questions are those that I have most interest in.

Sexual selection

Main collaborators: Prof. J. Potti; Dr. F. Mougeot; Dr. Juan A. Fargallo; Dr. F. García-González; Dr. Lorenzo Pérez-Rodríguez and Dr-to-be Carlos Camacho

Why individuals show-off? What are the physiological and evolutionary mechanisms that produce such an amazing variation of sexual displays? Why those yellow or red colourations? Why do females show sexual ornaments if they are the choosy sex? What individuals do to find a mate? Those extravagant signals mean the same in all environmental circumstances? Are those signals heritable? under every environmental circumstance?


Population dynamics

Main collaborators: Prof. S. Redpath; Dr. Juan A. Fargallo; Dr. F. Mougeot; Prof. S. Piertney

Why populations fluctuate in numbers? What are the factors that determine population demography in wild populations? Do predators influence prey abundances? The other way round? What are the role of hormones and parasites at regulating population numbers? How individual strategies influence population growth? Can we link population dynamics and sexual selection?

Sibling competition

Main collaborators: Dr. Juan A. Fargallo, David López and Juan Navarro.

What is the effect of within-brood size hierarchies on nestlings? Are these effects limited to the nestling period? Do they influence on the post-fledging period? or last far beyond during their lifetime? Do phenotypic traits mediate sibling competition during the postfledging period? Does this phenotype-mediated selection have any fitness consequences? What is the role of hormones on sibling competition?

Maternal effects

Main collaborators: Dr. Juan A. Fargallo.

Why do females start laying when they do? Why do they produce pigmented eggs? Why do they start incubating before the clutch size is completed? How females redistribute their resources under changing environmental circumstances? Is there any way females can minimize sibling competition in sexually-sized dimorphic birds?

All photographs shown here are of my own unless stated otherwise - I have also designed the entire web site, so this is © Jesús Martínez-Padilla