Evolutionary Ecology

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Cristina Tuni

Dr. Cristina Tuni

(per 01.06.2014)


Room C02.054

LMU München/Department Biologie II
Großhaderner Str. 2
82152 Planegg-Martinsried

Phone: +49 89 2180 74 265


I am broadly interested in reproductive biology, sexual selection and mating system evolution. My main research aim is to understand the adaptive significance of female promiscuity and the evolution of male mating strategies in polyandrous mating systems using invertebrates as model organisms, particularly spiders and crickets. Together with experimental laboratory trials through which I study male reproductive behavior, sperm traits and resulting fitness in response to changing selective pressures (intra-sexual competition) I also conduct field studies to assess the ecological factors that may ultimately constrain encounter rates among potential mating partners and among competitors and affect mating strategies in natural populations. I apply molecular methods to estimate natural mating rates and paternity patterns, both in the wild and in laboratory experiments, to understand the strength of post-mating selection in shaping reproductive traits and its interaction with pre-mating selection, ecology and life history evolution.

I am currently collaborating with:
- Prof. Trine Bilde (Aarhus University, Denmark)
- Prof. Gabriele Uhl (Greifswald University, Germany)
- Dr. Clelia Gasparini (University of Western Australia, Perth - AU)



Birth: 15/07/79 (Rome, Italy)
Nationality: Italian


2011: Ph.D in Bioscience, Aarhus University (Denmark).
2007: M.Sc in Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata (Italy).


2014 - Ludwig Maximilians University
2011-2013 Post-Doctoral fellow, Aarhus University (Denmark)


Principles of Behavioural Ecology, Current Topics in Behavioural Ecology, Experimental Behavioural Ecology, Evolutionary Ecology, Ecology 1 and Ecology 2, Scientific Writing, Grant writing.


- Michelle Beyer (MSc thesis)
- Carla Madueno Florian, Magdalena Matzke (BSc thesis)
- Ana Maria Bastidas, ChuChu Lu (Individual research project)
- Sarah Schulte-Doinghaus (Lehre@LMU award-winning project)

- Yvonne Fritz, Sarah Schulte-Doinghaus, Larissa Tschetsch (BSc thesis)
- Alexander Hutfluss, Diana Robledo, Jessica Bacon (Individual research project)
- Jhoniel Perdigon Ferreira, Sabrina Weber (Lehre@LMU award-winning project)

- Michelle Beyer, Sabrina Weber (BSc thesis)
- Jingxi Xiu, Jed Kempf, Jhoniel Perdigon Ferreira, Amanda Munoz Meneses (Individual research project)
- Patricia Velado Lobato (Lehre@LMU award-winning project)



Albo, M., Winther, G., Tuni, C., Toft Søren & Bilde, T. 2011. Worthless donations: male deception and female counter play in a nuptial gift-giving spider. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11: 329.

Berger-Tal, R., Berner-Aharon, N., Aharon, S., Tuni, C., and Lubin, Y. 2016. Good reasons to leave home: proximate dispersal cues in a social spider. Journal of Animal Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12534

Berger-Tal, R., Lubin, Y., Settepani, V., Mejer, M., Bilde, T., Tuni, C. 2015. Evidence for loss of nepotism in the evolution of permanent sociality. Scientific Reports 5. doi:10.1038/srep13284.

Berger-Tal, R., Tuni, C. Lubin, Y., Smith, D., Bilde, T. 2013. Fitness consequences of outcrossing in a social spider with an inbreeding mating system. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12264

Bilde, T., Goodacre, S., Tuni, C., Garoia, F., Santini, A. 2009. Characterisation of microsatellite loci in the subsocial spider Stegodyphus lineatus, (Araneae: Eresidae). Molecular Ecology Resources 9: 128 - 130.

Bilde, T., Tuni, C., Elsayed, R., Pèkar S., Toft, S. 2007. Nuptial gifts of male spiders: sensory exploitation of the female’s maternal care instinct or foraging motivation? Animal Behaviour 73: 267 - 273.

Bilde, T., Tuni, C., Elsayed, R., Pèkar S., Toft, S. 2006. Death feigning in the face of sexual cannibalism. Biology letters 2: 23 - 25.

Ghislandi, P., Albo, M.J, Tuni, C., and Bilde, T. 2014. Evolution of deceit by worthless donations in a nuptial gift-giving spider. Current Zoology 60: 43-51.

Ghislandi, P.G., Beyer, M., Velado, P., Tuni, C. 2017. Silk wrapping of nuptial gifts aids cheating behavior in male spiders. Behavioral Ecology DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arx028

Ghislandi P., Bilde T., Tuni, C. 2015. Extreme male mating behaviours: anecdotes in a nuptial feeding spider. Arachnology 16: 273-275.

Mestre, L, Rodríguez-Teijeiro JD, Tuni, C. 2015. Females of the cellar spider discriminate against previous mates. Ethology 121: 994-1001.

Tuni, C., Weber, S., Bilde T., Uhl G. 2017. Male spiders reduce pre- and post-mating sexual investment in response to sperm competition risk. Accepted in Behavioral Ecology DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arx061

Tuni, C., Perdigón Ferreira, J., Fritz,Y., Munoz Meneses , A., Gasparini, C. 2016. Impaired sperm quality and delayed mating but no costs for offspring fitness in field crickets winning a fight. Journal of Evolutionary Biology DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12888

Tuni, C., Albo, M. J., Bilde, T. 2013. Polyandrous females acquire indirect benefits in a nuptial-feeding species. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26: 1307-1316

Tuni, C., Beveridge, M., Simmons, L.W. 2013. Female crickets assess relatedness during mate guarding and bias storage of sperm toward unrelated males. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26: 1261-1268.

Tuni C. & Berger-Tal R. 2012. High mortality and female-biased operational sex ratio result in low encounter rates and moderate polyandry in a spider. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 107: 910 – 919.

Tuni, C., Goodacre, S., Bechsgaard, J. and Bilde, T. 2012. Moderate multiple parentage and low genetic variation reduces the potential for genetic incompatibility avoidance despite high risk of inbreeding. PlosONE 7: e29636. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029636.

Tuni C. & Berger-Tal R. 2012. Male preference and female cues: males assess female sexual maturity and mating status in a web-building spider. Behavioral Ecology 23: 582 - 587.

Tuni, C. and Bilde, T. 2010. No preference for novel mating partners in the polyandrous nuptial feeding spider Pisaura mirabilis (Araneae: Pisauridae). Animal Behaviour 80: 435 - 442.