Our projects currently focus on two research models: salmon and flour beetles. Both allow us to perform controlled experiments that explore the evolution of mechanisms that drive differential fertilization success, male : female reproductive compatibility, and the evolution of sperm form and function. Current Projects
  • Sperm competition dynamics, heritability of reproductive traits, and evolution of reproductive isolation
  • Fertilization dynamics and sperm function in salmon in relation to: hybridization with farm salmon, hybridization with trout, inter-population genetic variation
  • Inbreeding influences on spermatozoal and other reproductive traits in insects
  • Comparative tests of the evolution of sperm morphology
  • Population consequences of sexual selection
  • Thermal stress and male fertility
Across the group, we employ a broad range of research techniques, from electric-fishing to assess survivorship of salmonid hybrids in the wild, to analysing SNP variation to determine how sexual selection shapes a genome in Tribolium strains. Group members are all involved in publication of their work, presentation at international conferences, and attending skills training events. At UEA we also work closely with the lab groups of Prof Tracey Chapman and Dr Lewis Spurgin. We also have ongoing collaborations on the evolutionary ecology of insect reproduction with Lukasz Michalczyk (Krakow), Oliver Martin (Zurich) and Brent Emerson (Tenerife), and on salmon reproductive biology with Kevin Fowler and Monica Solberg (Bergen) and Sigurd Einum (Trondheim). See this recent BBC Earth article,bbc earth ‘The largest, and smallest, sex cells on the planet’ (including comments from Prof Gage), for a simple overview of the fascinating world of gamete evolution.