David Kelley

Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2007

Capstone Advisor

David Kelley

Honors Reader

Dr. Scott Pitnick

Capstone Major

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Capstone College

Engineering and Computer Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories

Computer Engineering | Other Computer Engineering


Sexual conflict, which is expected to be ubiquitous among polygamous species, is known to occasionally result in male adaptations that are harmful to females. One theoretical model indicates that males may benefit from physically harming their mates by triggering a “terminal investment” reproductive response by them. Using dynamic programming, we explore how females optimize their lifetime egg allocation, how selection acts on males to exploit such allocation, and how females respond to resist this exploitation. The model reveals alternative female response pathways; one of the most effective of which is simply to forgo plasticity in egg allocation. By switching to a fixed reproductive schedule, females reduce their vulnerability to male manipulations. The results predict that terminal investment should be rare. In addition, terminal investment should occur at higher frequency among monogamous species, where male harm is never adaptive, than among polygamous species. Another unique conclusion of our model is that male harm should be exclusively or preferentially directed at older females and/or females in poor condition.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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