Gonçalo Faria is the 2019 winner of the Kenneth Mather prize from the Genetics Society. He is a theoretical biologist working to integrate kin selection and sexual selection theory, both rich areas with long histories. His work has revealed connections between kin and sexual selection, including showing that when individuals recognise their kin, the intensity of sexual selection and of selection for cooperation changes, sometimes in surprising ways.
Gonçalo is a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, France, and you can read more about his work here.
Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in the overlap between kin selection and sexual selection, particularly concerning how kin selection can put the brakes on harmful sexual conflict. However, there remains a significant disconnect between theory and empirical research. Whilst empirical work has focused on kin-discriminating behaviour, theoretical models have assumed indiscriminating behaviour. Additionally, theoretical work makes particular demographic assumptions that constrain the relationship between genetic relatedness and the scale of competition, and it is not clear that these assumptions reflect the natural setting in which sexual conflict has been empirically studied. Through my research on this topic, I plug this gap between current theoretical and empirical understanding by developing a mathematical model of sexual conflict that incorporates kin discrimination and different patterns of dispersal. I find that kin discrimination and group dispersal inhibit harmful male behaviours at an individual level, but kin discrimination intensifies sexual conflict at the population level.