Rafael L. Rodríguez
Behavior and Evolution

Research in the Behavior and Evolution Lab

Rafael L. Rodriguez - Arthropod Behavioral Ecology Lab “He called upon the more notable of the current fertility deities, invoking them in terms of their most prominent Attributes.” (Zelasny 1968)

The main research topics in our lab include:

Examples of Current and Developing Projects:

Reaction Norms and Sexual Selection

Reaction Norms and Sexual Selection

The basic theory of sexual selection is concerned with the patterns of genetic variation in male and female sexual traits. We are incorporating considerations about social and developmental plasticity into this theory.

Ecology and Evolution of Cognition in Spiders

Ecology and Evolution of Cognition

Cognitive ecology seeks to understand how animals store and use information about their environments, and how this is shaped by natural and sexual selection and by the way in which brains are designed. We are seeking objective measures of the amount and complexity of information in behavior and cognition. For example, web spiders often remember information about captured prey, and search their webs for prey that they have lost. We use this searching behavior to study the features of the spiders’ prey that are represented in their memory.

Mate Preference Functions

Mate Preference Functions and Sexual Selection

We are using mate preference functions –quantitative descriptions of how sexual response varies with the features of sexual displays– to study the causes of variation in mate choice behavior and their contribution to sexual selection and speciation.

Department of Biological Sciences Lapham Hall, 3209 N. Maryland Avenue, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA