Consequences of sexual selection for reproductive and
life history traits in Tribolium castaneum


Current Question:

Does sexual selection improve population fitness in the face of biotic and abiotic environmental challenges?

Sexual selection was traditionally considered to work in opposition to natural selection due to the cost of maintaining sexually-selected signals. However, genic capture theory states that mating success, especially in the face of competition, is ultimately determined by condition, and therefore shaped by a large number of naturally selected genes. Sexual selection may therefore augment natural selection by improving the purging of deleterious mutations and the fixation of beneficial ones, creating population-level fitness benefits.

I test this idea using experimentally evolved populations of the promiscuous flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, which differ only in their contrasting opportunities for male-male competition and female choice across 50+ generations of selection.


In review: Godwin, J.L., Spurgin L.G., Michalczyk, L., Martin, O.Y., Lumley, A.J., Chapman T.C. & Gage, M.J.G.  Sexual selection improves net population fitness through an invasion challenge.

Godwin, J.L., Vasudeva, R., Michalczyk, L., Martin, O.Y., Lumley, A.J., Chapman T.C. & Gage, M.J.G. (2017) Sperm competition intensity selects for longer, more costly sperm. Evolution Letters, 1,  102-113

Lumley, A.J., Michalczyk, L., Kitson, J.J.N., Spurgin, L.G., Morrison, C.A., Godwin, J.L., Dickinson, M.E., Martin, O.Y., Emerson, B.C., Chapman T.C. & Gage, M.J.G. (2015) Sexual selection protects against extinction. Nature 522, 470-473

Presentations, Posters & Outreach:

Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Winter Meeting 2017
Conference title: Sexual selection: Do we still need to test the alternatives?


European Society for Evolutionary Biology XVI Congress 2017eseb_logo
Groningen, The Netherlands www.eseb2017.nl


Soapbox Science
‘Sex-ual Selection in the City’
Read more about


UEA Centre for Ecology, Evolution & Conservation (CEEC)uea-ceec-jpg
Annual CEEC Rebellion conference 13th/14th March 2017


UCL, Centre for Ecology & Evolution Summer Symposium 2016,
War & Peace – the dynamics of evolutionary conflict
Poster: Sexual selection increases sperm competitiveness and sperm length – silver poster prize

UEA Centre for Ecology Evolution & Conservation Rebellion 2016
Presentation: Sperm competition selects for directional not stabilising selection on sperm length – best student talk prize

Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Easter Meeting 2015
Presentation: How does sexual selection shape sperm competitiveness and ability to invade new populations?

UEA Centre for Ecology Evolution & Conservation Rebellion 2013 – 2015

Career History:

Research Technician, University of East Anglia (2016-Present)uea_horizontal_green

PhD Evolutionary Biology, University of East Anglia (2016)

Senior Education Officer, Norfolk Wildlife Trust (2011-12)nwt-logo

Teacher of Science, Sprowston High School, Norwich (2010-2011)

MSc Ecology & Conservation, University of East Anglia (2010)

Field Studies Teacher, Holt Hall Field Studies Centre (2006-09)hh-logo2

Teacher of Science, Abbeyfield School, Chippenham (2005-06)

PGCE Secondary Science, University of Bath (2004)

BSc Biology, University of Bath (2003)university_of_bath_logo-svg


Contact – j.godwin@uea.ac.uk | @joannelgodwin