Welcome to Spiderlab Aarhus University - Trine Bilde's lab
Evolution of Cooperative Societies – Mating System Evolution – Animal Behaviour
A main aim of our research group is to understand the evolution of group-living and cooperation using social spiders as model system. The social spiders are unique among group living animals, as the transition to permanent sociality is associated with strong inbreeding and highly female-biased sex ratios. Our research aims to understand 1) the ecology and evolution of sociality, 2) reproductive division of labour and conflict resolution, and 3) population consequences of inbreeding. Our research is mainly performed on the genus Stegodyphus that contains both social and subsocial (pre-social) spiders, which makes it ideal for comparative studies. We do field work in South Africa, Nambia, India and Israel.
We study the evolution of polyandrous mating systems and post-copulatory sexual selection for indirect genetic benefits in subsocial Stegodyphus spiders.
We also study sexual selection and male-female co-evolution in the nursery web spider Pisaura mirabilis, where males offer nuptial gifts to females during courtship and mating.
Vanthournout, B., Greve, M., Bruun, A., Bechsgaard, J. ,Overgaard, J., Bilde, T. 2016. Benefits of group living include increased feeding efficiency and lower mass loss during desiccation in the social and inbreeding spider Stegodyphus dumicola. Frontiers in Physiology. 7:18.
Settepani V, Bechsgaard J, Bilde T. 2016. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that sociality is associated with reduced effectiveness of selection. Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.1886
Majer M., Svenning J-C., Bilde T. 2015. Habitat productivity predicts the global distribution of social spiders. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 3:101.
Berger-Tal R., Lubin Y., Settepani V., Majer M., Bilde T., Tuni C. 2015. Evidence for loss of nepotism in the evolution of permanent sociality. Scientific Reports. 5: 13284.
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