TitleImplications of intraspecific behavioral interactions on
the evolution of the mbuna cichlids of Lake Malawi and
the effects of a small class intervention on a group of
at-‐risk undergraduate students
NameMellor, David Thomas (author), Jordan, Rebecca C (chair), Smouse, Peter E (internal member), Duncan, Ravit Golan (internal member), Coleman, Ronald M (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectEcology and Evolution,
DescriptionThe rock-dwelling cichlids of Lake Malawi, the mbuna, are a model system of rapid, sympatric diversification of vertebrates. Though sexual selection has often been invoked to explain their radiation, the best evidence to date suggests that female choice and male-male interactions act to reinforce incipient, allopatric divergence upon secondary contact. First, I expand on the evidence previously gathered on male-male interactions at the inter-population level, by examining within-population behavioral patterns that could explain the diversification of this lineage. Specifically, I measure female preference for conspecific males who are in social isolation and those who are in groups of interacting males. I found that females show preference for males who score higher in male-male contests. In chapter two, I measure the effect of these male-male interactions on female choice and show that these interactions do affect female preference. By controlling the outcome of each male-male interaction, I show that female preference is affected by the male-male contests themselves. In chapter three, I measure the reflectance of brightly colored, territorial males and look for a correlation between color-similarity and level of aggression between two males. Males show more aggression towards similarly colored conspecific rivals than they do towards rivals who are more differently colored. In chapter four, I measure male reproductive success and the chromatic, behavioral, and territorial traits that affect it. Male color does predict reproductive success. Given my desire to integrate scholarship into every aspect of my academic career, I undertake an investigation on students who are at risk for leaving college because of low academic performance. I describe the social and psychological issues affecting the high rate of college attrition and the effects of a small scale class intervention on student retention, GPA, locus of control, and academic self-efficacy.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby David Thomas Mellor
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.