Mate choice affects many aspects of male and female behavior across different species. Information on female mate searching by females is an important but little studied part of this process. The proposed study uses information gained from long-term observation of mating and mate searching of bowerbirds to test novel hypotheses about 1) the rules for mate searching, 2) how searching is affected by past female experience, and 3) how female searching behavior affects male display strategies, reproductive skews and lifetime male reproductive success. The proposed work will provide previously unavailable information on lifetime records of mate searching and mating for both sexes. Satin bowerbirds are an excellent model for such studies because female visitation can be monitored with cameras that provide time and date information that allows mate searching patterns to be reconstructed.
Mate choice is a fundamental process that affects nearly all animals. There are many questions about the process of mate choice that are unresolved. Studies of mate choice are valuable because they are useful in constructing a general theory of choice. Such a theory is useful in understanding mating behavior and the genetics and conservation of natural populations.