The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change

is a research museum of the Leibniz Association

SynSex - Sexual selection and sexual conflict in Syngnathidae



Quick facts

Project title: 
A gradient of sexual selection and sexual conflict: parental investment and sex-role reversal and their genomic footprints
ZFMK Project lead: 


Selection acts differently on males and females and drives their phenotypic dissimilarities. Most research has focused on males and how sexual selection shapes their ornaments and weaponry in the context of gaining access to female mates. This is not least due to the fact that humans, as most other vertebrates, show "conventional", "Darwinian" sex roles concentrating our perception on competitive males and caring mothers. In several seahorse, seadragon and pipefish species (family Syngnathidae), however, females compete for access to mates, while males are the choosy sex and provide the parental care during male pregnancy. Our project will investigate how these species evolved under intensified sexual selection on females
and how the evolution of sex-specific traits from a genome shared between the sexes and hence with sexual conflict is impacted by increasing paternal care. 


Contact person

Head of Section
+49 228 9122-365
+49 228 9122-212
A.Boehne [at]