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.


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

Associations, Conferences & Talks:

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


European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB)eseb_logo
Looking forward to sharing my findings at the 2017 Congress
Groningen, The Netherlands www.eseb2017.nl



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

UEA CEEC Rebellion 2016 – Sperm competition selects for directional not stabilising selection on sperm length – best student talk

Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB)asablogo
Easter Meeting 2015, Durham – How does sexual selection
shape sperm competitiveness and ability to invade new populations?

UEA CEEC 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