University of Alberta

Jeff Lane

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photo credit: Elizabeth Anderson



2002 to present - Ph.D. candidate, Ecology and Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta

2002 - M.Sc. Biology, University of Regina

2000 - B.Sc. (with distinction) Ecology and Zoology, University of Calgary

Thesis Title: Extent and causes of variation in male reproductive success in North American red squirrels ( Tamiasciurus hudsonicus ).

Project Summary: Studies on mammal mating patterns have tended work within harem polygynous systems. In these mating systems, male success is largely dictated by ability to control access to receptive females, and sexual selection tends to favour large body size and enhanced weaponry. However, this situation is clearly not ubiquitous. Investigations of the Sciuridae have suggested that the most common mating system is scramble competition polygyny. A male's mating success under this system is primarily dictated by his ability to locate and follow estrous females. Although selection on morphological traits is likely weak, selection on behaviour is potentially intense. The first objective of my thesis research is to investigate aspects of the mating system of North American red squirrels and ascertain correlates of male mating success. Preliminary results suggest that the mating system is a form of scramble competition and that male mating success is largely driven by reproductive effort. However, levels of polyandry are relatively high and a more appropriate definition is therefore scramble competition polygynandry.

Two interesting questions arise from this finding: First, why don't all males invest more reproductive energy? Second, what benefit(s) do females experience from mating with multiple males? To answer the first question, I am addressing potential costs of variable mating effort to male red squirrels. Specifically, I am measuring the energetic costs (with Murray Humphries, McGill and John Speakman, Aberdeen) of mating to males exhibiting variable effort and assessing potential tradeoffs between reproductive effort and physiological condition (with Rudy Boonstra, Toronto). To address the second question, I will document the genetic sires of offspring (with Dave Coltman, Alberta and Melissa Gunn, Sheffield). The comparison of copulatory partners to genetic sires will allow me to elucidate patterns of sperm competition and determine genetic benefits of polyandry. Lastly, I am exploring the potential roles of polyandry and behavioural mechanisms in inbreeding avoidance in this species.

photo credit: Jay Wade

Hobbies/interests: When the interactions of amorous squirrels subside, I can usually be found exploring the natural wonders of the Yukon with my most faithful field assistant to date (3 field seasons and counting), Evening the black lab. There are no shortages of things to do in Kluane and I enjoy fly-fishing for arctic grayling, climbing (or at least attempting to) various Yukon peaks and hiking or cycling the seemingly infinite number of trails. Less outdoorsy interests include playing guitar and enjoying Canadian literature and music.


Willis, C.K.R., J.E. Lane, E.L. Liknes, D.L. Swanson and R.M. Brigham. (In press). A technique for modeling thermoregulatory energy expenditure in free-ranging endotherms. Life in the Cold 2004. (B.M. Barnes and H. Carey, eds.)

Lane, J.E., D.L. Swanson, R.M. Brigham, and A.E. McKechnie. 2004. Physiological responses to temperature by Whip-poor-wills: More evidence for the evolution of low metabolic rates in Caprimulgiformes. Condor 106: 921-925.

Lane, J.E., R.M. Brigham, and D.L. Swanson. 2004. Daily torpor in free-ranging Whip-poor-wills ( Caprimulgus vociferus ). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 77: 297-304.

Lane, J.E., C.L. Buck, and R.M. Brigham. 2003. The bat fauna of southeastern South Dakota. Prairie Naturalist 35: 247-256.

Lane, J.E. 2002. Thermoregulation of Whip-poor-wills under natural and laboratory conditions. M.Sc. thesis, University of Regina, Regina, SK.

Willis, C.K.R., J.E. Lane, E.T. Liknes, D.L. Swanson and R.M. Brigham. (submitted). Geographic variation in thermal energetics of female big brown bats ( Eptesicus fuscus ). Canadian Journal of Zoology.

Last Modified:2012-05-17