• Nalini Puniamoorthy


  • I’m interested in sexual selection, speciation and the evolution of life history traits.


    Postdoctoral Fellow – Syracuse University 2013 – present

    Postdoctoral Fellow – University Zurich, 2013

    Ph.D. – University of Zurich, 2013

    M.Sc. – National University of Singapore, 2008

    B.Sc. (Hons) – National University of Singapore, 2006

    Research Interests:

    Numerous studies have documented the important role of sexual selection in the diversification of various male traits including ornaments, armaments and behavior. However, polyandry (i.e. female remating behavior) is a principal determinant of the intensity of sexual selection on males and therefore, it is surprising that little is known about the diversification of female relating behavior. For instance, when females remate frequently (with different males), both premating and postcopulatory sexual selection can be intense; when females do not remate or do so infrequently, sexual selection on males may be weak. When populations vary in polyandry, it can result in divergence in reproductive traits and possibly barriers to gene flow between populations, with implications for reproductive isolation. Here, we pursue a research program to investigate the causes and consequences of variation in polyandry in the dung fly Sepsis punctum on a wide geographic scale. This species exhibits exceptional intraspecific variation in polyandry: European (EU) females mate more frequently than do North American (NA) females. This divergence is accompanied by a difference in mating behavior (NA males have a abdominal courtship that is absent in EU) as well as the only known within-species reversal in sexual size dimorphism (EU: males larger than females; NA: females larger than males). Using this unique system, we take an experimental approach to study the adaptive significance of variation in polyandry and its role in the diversification of critical biological traits.