Sam Cotton

Research Interests

I am interested in the evolution of signaling systems, principally those associated with sexual selection and the handicap principle. During my PhD and subsequent post-doc at University College London I used experiments on stalk-eyed flies to investigate how genetic and environmental factors interact to produce sexual ornaments (exaggerated male eyespan) that reflect the quality of their bearer. I have also explored the causes of variation in individual mate preferences, and examined the consequences of such variation on sexual selection. For more details see

Here in Lausanne, I am examining the importance sex ratios and sex chromosomes in conservation biology from a mainly theoretical perspective. The sex ratio has received relatively little attention in this field, despite its importance in evolutionary biology. I am exploring the effect of deviations from sexual unity on population growth and evolution, and evaluating the consequences of environmentally induced sex change in systems with predominately genetic methods of sex determination.

Curriculum vitae

2008 -
NERC fellow, University College London,UK.

Post-doctoral Research Assistant, Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Sex ratios, evolution and conservation biology

Dept. of Biology, University College London Funded Fieldwork. Gombak Valley Field Research Centre, Peninsular Malaysia. Lek formation and sexual selection in the Malaysian stalk-eyed fly, Teleopsis dalmanni

2005 - 2006
BBSRC Post-doctoral Research Assistant, Dept. of Biology, University College London. Investigation of the mechanisms underlying sexual conflict in a stalk-eyed fly, Cyrtodiopsis dalmanni

ASAB/Royal Society funded fieldwork, Gombak Valley Field Research Centre, Peninsular Malaysia. Condition-dependent male signalling and female mate choice in the Malaysian stalk-eyed fly, Cyrtodiopsis dalmanni

2004 - 2005
BBSRC Research Technician, Dept. of Biology, University College London. Comparative evolution and development of a novel exaggerated sexual trait

2000 - 2004
Ph.D. (Genetics), Dept. of Biology, University College London. The signalling function of eyespan in stalk-eyed flies (Diptera: Diopsidae)

1997 - 2000
BSc (Hons) Biology (First Class), University of Bristol

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