Evolutionary reproductive biology

 

Our research interest is evolution of spermatozoa and seminal plasma proteins in relation to reproductive behavior. We investigate two main topics;

 

1) Gametes recognition in the broadcast spawning coral Acropora. We investigate in terms of a) timing of gamete release and fertilization specificity among synchronous spawning species, b) identification of gamete-recognition proteins, c) sperm preference of intercrossing species (e.g., A. florida and A. intermedia), d) development of sperm cryopreservation protocol, and d) cooperative breeding in the coral. To conduct above points, field-, and lab working are on going at Sesoko station.

 

2) Relationship between reproductive behavior and semen traits (sperm motility, seminal plasma proteins) of cichlids in Lake Tanganyika. To understand the relationship between the behavior and semen traits, integrative approaches (field working, laboratory working, and analyses with computer) are on going; a) underwater observation of cichlids in Lake Tanganyika, b) sperm motility analyses, c) proteomic analyses of seminal plasma- and sperm proteins, d) codon evolution of the proteins (e.g., PAML analyses), e) functional assay with expressed proteins, and f) comparative phylogenetic analyses (e.g., PGLS and BayesTraits)