Our first field season came to a close in August and produced some exciting new data, and this was quickly followed by our trip to the 16th congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology in the amazing town of Groningen, the Netherlands. A wonderful time was had by all.
Breeding activity by the chickadees has waned, but Carolina wrens and prothonotary warblers are nesting in earnest. Also, exposing curious students to new things might be the coolest thing in the world.
We are pleased to welcome Kelly Miller to the lab this fall to begin a PhD program at Memphis. Kelly is currently finishing her undergraduate work at Indiana University, Bloomington, completing degrees in both Animal Behavior and Psychology (honors), with a minor in Biology. Stay tuned for updates on her research!
Congratulations to Alex, who has just received a grant from the Tennessee Ornithological Society for his project entitled, “Experimental manipulation of environmental temperature and its effect on nestling development in the Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis).” The Tennessee Ornithological Society promotes the enjoyment, scientific study, and conservation of birds.
A new paper led by undergraduate researcher Darren Will investigates parental food provisioning in relation to a male’s sexual attractiveness. Male parental care for offspring was found to vary inversely with sexual attractiveness. The paper sheds new light on the potential for sexual selection to shape parental effort and on sexual conflict over biparental care.
Under beautiful weather for fieldwork, we are establishing our study area. In just three days, and with the help of eight terrific AmeriCorps members, we made 350 nestboxes for use at the Meeman Biological Station. We have more boxes to build, but are now deploying boxes in the field, and our resident birds have taken notice!
It’s been a busy fall already, but we’re now constructing nestboxes and mapping out where they’ll go. Stay tuned for updates!
A new paper investigates consequences for increasing spring temperatures on the phenology and life history of one of our favorite birds, the House Wren. Several important stages in the lives of these birds have been altered, including the strength and shape of natural selection acting on breeding date.
A new paper investigates consequences of elevated glucocorticoids duing egg production on maternal allocation and offspring development. Feeding corticosterone-injected mealworms to free-living females during egg formation increased clutch sizes, yolk-corticosterone concentrations, and enhanced offspring begging and growth after hatching.
A new paper in Evolutionary Biology investigates variation in the sex ratio of offspring produced by females of known age and ontogeny in a wild population.