Alexandra Basolo
Alexandra Basolo

Ph.D. University of Texas-Austin, 1990
M.A. San Francisco University
        (Marine Biology)
B.A. University of Californa-San Diego
Contact Information
67 Manter Hall

Basolo Lab



Research Interests

My research investigates evolutionary, behavioral and ecological processes that contribute to the maintenance of variation in the natural environment. Current research projects include laboratory and field work focusing on aspects of how natural and sexual selection contribute to the evolution of morphological, physiological and behavioral traits. My current research program includes:
Investigating how mate choice and predation affect the maintenance of genetic variation for age at sexual maturation and body size in the platyfish. Results thus far indicate that in populations with a high risk of predation, alleles for larger size and later maturation increase in frequency, while in low predation populations, alleles for early maturation at smaller sizes increase in frequency.
Examining the evolution of the sword in swordtail fishes. This research includes broad phylogenetic comparisons as well as manipulative experiments, directed at determining the costs and benefits of the sword, including energetic costs, predation costs and mating benefits. Results this far indicate that a female preference favoring a male sword appears to have evolved prior to the sword and is shared with a number of species lacking swords, and that multiple sources of selection act on the sword..
Investigating the evolutionary and ecological dynamics of a host/parasite system between hermit crabs and a parasitic castrator. This is a relatively new line of research, but results thus far indicate that the prevalence of the parasite varies both seasonally and spatially along the California coast.


Recent Publications

  • Basolo, AL 2006 Genetic linkage and color polymorphism in the southern platyfish (Xiphophorus maculatus): a model system for studies of color pattern evolution. Zebrafish 3(1), 65-83.
  • Basolo, AL & Wagner, WE, Jr  2006 Genetic variation in maternal investment patterns in platyfish, Xiphophorus maculatus.  Zebrafish 3(2), 335-341.
  • Benson, K & Basolo, AL 2006 Male-male competition and the sword in male swordtails, Xiphophorus helleri. Animal Behaviour 71, 129-134.**
  • Trainor, BE & Basolo, AL 2006 Location, location, location: stripe position effects on female sword preference. Animal Behaviour 71, 135-140. **
  • Wagner, WE. Jr & Basolo, AL  In press Host preferences in a phonotactic parasitoid of field crickets: the relative importance of host song characters. Ecological Entomology.
  • Wagner, WE, Jr & Basolo, AL  In press The relative importance of different direct benefits in the mate choices of a field cricket. Evolution.
  • Basolo, AL 2004 Variation between and within the sexes in body size preferences. Animal Behaviour 68, 75-82.*
  • Basolo, AL & Wagner, WE, Jr  2004 Covariation between predation risk, body size and fin elaboration in the green swordtail.  Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 83, 87-100.
  • Basolo, AL & Alcaraz-Zubeldia, G 2003 The turn of the sword: energetic costs of a sexually selected trait. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 270, 1631-1636.*
  • Johnson, JB & Basolo, AL 2003 Visual exposure to a natural predator changes female preference for conspicuous male ornaments in the green swordtail. Behavioral Ecology 14, 619-625.