Susan Gershman

Assistant Professor, Evol, Ecology & Org Biology

I study the evolution of animal behavior. I am most interested in the coevolutionary arms race between males and females over conflicting optimal fitness strategies.

I primarily use crickets and Drosophila flies as my study systems, but I have also worked with other insects and salamanders. Some of the research questions that I address include: What behavioral and morphological adaptations do males use to outcompete other males for reproductive success? How do adaptations that help males outcompete other males affect females? When male traits that are attractive to females are complex, how can selection act on these traits and on female preference for male traits? To address these questions, my research draws on techniques from behavioral ecology, life history evolution, quantitative genetics, immunology, and analytical chemistry. My current research directions include: (1) Sexual conflict over courtship feeding gifts in Gryllodes sigillatus decorated crickets, (2) Adaptive plasticity in sexually selected cuticular hydrocarbons in male Drosophila serrata flies, (3) The immunological costs of mating for male and female crickets and beetles, (4) The benefits of female choice for novel partners, and (5) Sexual conflict over the optimal number of times for females to mate. I am also interested in starting new research on: (1) Adaptive plasticity in Gryllodes sigillatus spermatophylax composition, and (2) Variation in wing interference patterns in flies.


I am currently accepting graduate students.

Areas of Expertise
  • Behavioral Ecology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Ph.D, University of California, Riverside
  • M.S., Washington State University
  • BA., Johns Hopkins University

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740 725-6129
Morrill Hall
1465 Mt. Vernon Ave.
Marion, OH 43302