Amber Makowicz

PhD Student

Evolutionary and Ecological Biology- Zoology

University of Oklahoma

Department of Zoology

730 Van Vleet Oval

Rm 314

Norman, OK 73019 

Presently, I am a PhD student in Dr. Ingo Schlupp’s lab studying kin recognition in a unisexual Poeciliid, Poecilia formosaThe theory of kin selection predicts that individuals that share common genes would benefit from the reproductive fitness of each other; therefore, related individuals should be more altruistic and less antagonistic. Theory would predict that the unisexual species would be able to discriminate among clonal strands, associate more frequently and display less aggressive behaviors towards identical sisters. In the sexual/unisexual mating system assessed here there are two species, P. latipinna and P. formosa, in which the females compete for the same males. These females live in large, open shoals that constantly vary in the ratio of each species throughout the seasons, in which the social environment may influence individuals to adjust their behaviors towards each other, not only within species but also between species. Consequently, studying the cooperation and conflict within this sexual/unisexual mating system will lead to a better understanding of the evolution of sociality.

I received my Master's degree studying the cost of living in social environments, focusing on sexual behaviors in the sailfin molly, Poecilia latipinna Specifically, how and if sexual harassment and female-female aggression directly or indirectly impact individuals, through the advantage point of males and females using a combination of behavioral and life history techniques. 

I am also interested in the social network of individuals within a population. Audience effects (how a third non-participate influences an  interacting pair) have been shown to alter inter- and intra-sexual conflicts.  Previously I have investigated how this effects mate choice and sexual harassment. What’s more, I have dabbled in morphology and species diversification in Gambusia.