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Schärer Group
Evolutionary Biology
Zoological Institute
University of Basel
Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel

Steve Ramm

email: steven.ramm-at-unibas.ch
phone: +41 61 207 03 75

I'm an evolutionary biologist with research interests in sexual selection, currently working in the Schärer group as a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow.

Current research

We're investigating how sexual selection shapes the evolutionary biology of spermatogenesis. Specifically, we're adopting quantitative genetic and immunocytochemical approaches to learn about genetic variation in sperm and other sexually selected traits in the model flatworm Macrostomum lignano and about how these traits have diverged within the Macrostomum genus. We think that several biological and methodological features make Macrostomum a nice model system for such a study, enabling us to address general questions about the quantitative genetic architecture or sperm morphological and production traits, the extent to which such traits are phenotypically plastic, and their coevolutionary dynamics. Also collaborating on the project are Mathias Kölliker (University of Basel) and Peter Ladurner (University of Innsbruck).

Previous research

I'm a recent convert to flatworms, having previously worked on mammals. Throughout that time I was interested in understanding how post-copulatory sexual selection shapes (a) the evolution of sperm production and allocation strategies; (b) the evolution of seminal fluid; and (c) the evolution of genitalia. Most of these studies involved mice and other rodents, demonstrating for example that seminal fluid proteins are rapidly evolving under sperm competition (Ramm et al. 2008a, 2009) and that mice exhibit phenotypic plasticity in sperm production, mediated by social experience with conspecifics (Ramm & Stockley 2009).

Curriculum vitae

Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow Zoological Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland
Sexual selection and the evolutionary biology of spermatogenesis, hosted by Dr. Lukas Schärer

HFSP Short-Term Fellow Institute of Zoology, University of Innsbruck, Austria 
A flatworm model to study intraspecific modulation in the kinetics of spermatogenesis, hosted by Dr. Peter Ladurner

Postdoc, Mammalian Behaviour and Evolution Group, University of Liverpool, UK
Sperm competition and adaptive variation in mammalian ejaculates, PI: Dr. Paula Stockley

Postdoc, Mammalian Behaviour and Evolution Group, University of Liverpool, UK
MUP knockout mice: implications for chemical communication and a generic research tool, PI: Prof. Jane Hurst

Ph.D.University of Liverpool, UK 
Sperm competition and its evolutionary consequences in rodents, supervised by Dr. Paula Stockley and Prof. Geoff Parker

B.Sc. (Hons.), Class I, Genetics, University College London, UK


Claydon AJ, Ramm SA, Pennington A, Hurst JL, Stockley P & Beynon RJ. 2012. Heterogenous turnover of sperm and seminal vesicle proteins in the mouse revealed by dynamic metabolic labelling. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, in press (doi: 10.1074/mcp.M111.014993).

Lemaitre JF, Ramm SA, Hurst JL & Stockley P. 2012. Inbreeding avoidance behaviour of male bank voles in relation to social status. Animal Behaviour 83:453-457.

Lemaitre JF, Ramm SA, Jennings N & Stockley P. 2012. Genital morphology linked to social status in the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 66:97-105.

Lemaitre JF, Ramm SA, Hurst JL & Stockley P. 2011. Social cues of sperm competition influence accessory reproductive gland size in a promiscuous mammal. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 278:1171-1176.

Ramm SA & Stockley P. 2010. Sperm competition and sperm length influence the rate of mammalian spermatogenesis. Biology Letters 6:219-221.

Ramm SA, Khoo L & Stockley P. 2010. Sexual selection and the rodent baculum: an intraspecific study in the house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus). Genetica 138:129-137.

Lemaitre JF, Ramm SA, Barton RA & Stockley P. 2009. Sperm competition and brain size evolution in mammals. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22:2215-2221.

Ramm SA & Stockley P. 2009. Male house mice do not adjust sperm allocation in response to odours from related or unrelated rivals. Animal Behaviour 78:685-690.

Ramm SA & Stockley P. 2009. Adaptive plasticity of mammalian sperm production in response to social experience. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 276:745-751.

Ramm SA, McDonald L, Hurst JL, Beynon RJ & Stockley P. 2009. Comparative proteomics reveals evidence for evolutionary diversification of rodent seminal fluid and its functional significance in sperm competition. Molecular Biology and Evolution 26:189-198.

Ramm SA, Cheetham SA & Hurst JL. 2008b. Encoding choosiness: female attraction requires prior physical contact with individual male scents in mice. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 275:1727-1735.

Ramm SA, Oliver P, Ponting CP, Stockley P & Emes RD. 2008a. Sexual selection and the adaptive evolution of mammalian ejaculate proteins. Molecular Biology and Evolution 25:207-219.

Ramm SA. 2007. Sexual selection and genital evolution in mammals: a phylogenetic analysis of baculum length. American Naturalist 169:360-369.

Ramm SA & Stockley P. 2007. Ejaculate allocation under varying sperm competition risk in the house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus. Behavioral Ecology 18:491-495.

Ramm SA, Parker GA & Stockley P. 2005. Sperm competition and the evolution of male reproductive anatomy in rodents. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 272:949-955.

this page was last updated on Tuesday, December 22, 2015