Fairbairn, Daphne J
Professor of Biology
- College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Research in my laboratory focuses on the evolution and adaptive significance of sexual dimorphism in animals. Males and females within species share most (and sometimes all) of their genomes, and thus differences between the sexes in adult body size and shape primarily reflect sex-specific gene regulation that has evolved as a consequence of sex-specific patterns of natural and sexual selection. Sexual dimorphism therefore provides an excellent model for assessing the relative importance of selection and genetic constraints in determining evolutionary trajectories and equilibria. We study sexual dimorphism using many approaches, including comparative analyses, simulation modeling, quantitative genetics, laboratory experiments, and field assays of demographic, life history and behavioral parameters. Our primary study organism is an insect, the water strider Aquarius remigis, but neither the theoretical nor the empirical work is restricted to a given taxon. Current projects include studies of water striders, orb weaving spiders, crickets, and beetles.
Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- BSc Biology 1971
- Carleton Univ.
- PhD Zoology 1976
- Univ. of British Columbia
Concordia Council on Student Life Teaching Excellence Award, 1994
Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Evolutionary biology, behavioral and population ecology
Fox, C. W., Roff, D. A. and D. J. Fairbairn. 2001. (eds.) Evolutionary Ecology. Concepts and Case Studies. Oxford University Press, New York.
Fairbairn, D. J., Blanckenhorn, W. U. and T. Szekely. 2007 (eds.) Sex, Size and Gender Roles. Evolutionary Studies of Sexual Size Dimorphism. Oxford University Press.
Selected Research Articles
Fairbairn, D. J. 1997. Allometry for sexual size dimorphism: Pattern and process in the coevolution of body size in males and females. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 28: 659-687.
Reeve, J. P. and D. J. Fairbairn, 1999. Change in sexual size dimorphism as a correlated response to selection on fecundity. Heredity 83: 697-706.
Preziosi, R. F. and D. J. Fairbairn. 2000. Lifetime selection on adult body size and components of body size in a waterstrider: opposing selection and maintenance of sexual size dimorphism. Evolution 54: 558-566.
Reeve, J. P. and D. J. Fairbairn. 2001. Predicting the evolution of sexual size dimorphism. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 14: 244-254.
Roff, D. A., Mostowy S. and D. J. Fairbairn. 2002. The evolution of trade-offs: Testing predictions on response to selection and environmental variation. Evolution 56: 84-95.
Vermette, R. and D. J. Fairbairn. 2002. How well do mating frequency and duration predict paternity success in the polygynandrous water strider, Aquarius remigis. Evolution 56: 1808-1820.
Fairbairn, D. J., Vermette, R., Kapoor, N. N. and N. Zahiri. 2003. Functional significance of sexually selected genitalia in the water strider, Aquarius remigis. Canadian Journal of Zoology 81: 400-413.
Foellmer, M. W. and D. J. Fairbairn. 2003. Spontaneous male death during copulation in an orb-weaving spider. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B (Suppl.) 270:S183-S185.
Foellmer, M. W. and D. J. Fairbairn. 2005. Competing dwarf males: sexual selection in an orb-weaving spider. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18: 629-641.
Fairbairn, D. J. 2005. Allometry for sexual size dimorphism: Testing two hypotheses for Rensch’s rule in the water strider, Aquarius remigis. American Naturalist 166: S69-S84.
Bertin, A. and D. J. Fairbairn. 2005. One tool, many uses: precopulatory sexual selection on genital morphology in Aquarius remigis. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18:949-962.
Fairbairn, D. J. and D. A. Roff. 2006. The quantitative genetics of sexual dimorphism: assessing the importance of sex-linkage. Heredity 97: 319-328.
Roff, D. A. and D. J. Fairbairn. 2007a. The evolution and genetics of migration in insects. Bioscience 57:155-164.
Roff, D. A. and D. J. Fairbairn. 2007b. The evolution of trade-offs: where are we? Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20:433-447.
Roff, D. A. and D. J. Fairbairn. 2007c. Laboratory evolution of the migratory polymorphism in the sand cricket: combining physiology and quantitative genetics. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 80: 358–369
Saglam, I., Roff, D. A. and D. J. Fairbairn. 2008. The phenotypic and genetic basis of the trade-off between flight capability and reproductive investment in males of the cricket Gryllus firmus. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21: 997-1004.
Fairbairn, D. J. and E. King. 2009. Why do Californian striders fly? Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22: 36–49.