My name is Aijuan Liao. After finishing my master degree on Environmental Sciences (Major in Ecology and Evolution) at ETH Zurich, I joined the Kawecki group for my PhD in 2019.
The main topic of my PhD work is to understand the role of pathogens in sexual selection. I study the relationship between sire’s sexual success and offspring fitness in different pathogenic environments. “Good Genes” hypothesis stipulates that sire’s sexual success is positively correlated with offspring’s non-sexual fitness components and that by choosing males of high genetic quality confers high fitness feedback to the choosing females. In my experiment, I use Drosophila melanogaster-Metarhizium brunneumas my main system to test that the link between sire’s sexual success and offspring’s pathogen fitness is context-dependent and sex-dependent.
The information of high pathogen resistance may be captured by some male traits, such as odors, appearance or sexual display. Currently, I am using a video-tracking system to understand whether male’s courtship intensity reflects its pathogen resistance level by using genetically resistant and susceptible populations.