David W. Winkler

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We know very little about physiological constraints on the evolution of life-history traits in general, and, in particular, about physiological and molecular adjustments that accompany the evolution of variation in lifespan. Identifying mechanisms that underlie adaptive variation in lifespan should provide insight into the evolution of trade-offs between(More)
The phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) skin test response, used to assess cell-mediated immunity, is known to vary with many social and energetic factors, but the effects of age have received little attention. We found that the PHA response of immature birds was lower than those of the youngest breeding adults and were decreased in adults. Whenever possible, age(More)
A wide diversity of free-living organisms show increases in mortality rates and/or decreases in reproductive success with advancing age. However, the physiological mechanisms underlying these demographic patterns of senescence are poorly understood. Immunosenescence, the age-related deterioration of immune function, is well documented in humans and(More)
We examined whether strategies of reproductive allocation may reduce long-term immunocompetence through the effects of manipulated effort on secondary or acquired immunity. We tested whether increased reproductive effort leads to reduced immune function and survival by manipulating brood size in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) and exposing breeding(More)
To study the patterns and determinants of philopatry and breeding dispersal in the Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) we analyzed the records of 356 males and 1459 females captured in more than one breeding year around Ithaca, New York. Of these captures, only 4% of male and 14% of female breeders dispersed to a new site for breeding. With our combination(More)
Telomerase is an enzyme capable of elongating telomeres, the caps at the ends of chromosomes associated with aging, lifespan and survival. We investigated tissue-level variation in telomerase across different ages in four bird species that vary widely in their life history. Telomerase activity in bone marrow may be associated with the rate of erythrocyte(More)
We studied the foraging ecology of a population of Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) breeding in New York State over a period of 5 years. While feeding nestlings, adult Tree Swallows tended to spend most of their time within sight of their nest box and less than 12 m above the ground. Major insect taxa captured include Diptera, Hemiptera, and Odonata,(More)
The offspring of birds and mammals solicit food from their parents by a combination of movements and vocalizations that have come to be known collectively as 'begging'. Recently, begging has most often been viewed as an honest signal of offspring need. Yet, if offspring learn to adjust their begging efforts to the level that rewards them most, begging(More)
The cosmopolitan Barn Swallow complex (Hirundo rustica and related Hirundo species) provides a model system for studies of mate choice, sexual selection, and related topics in behavioral ecology, but the phylogenetic and phylogeographic relationships within this group are not yet completely resolved. We reconstructed the phylogeny of all 14 species of(More)
Recent studies of several species have reported a latitudinal cline in the circadian clock gene, Clock, which influences rhythms in both physiology and behavior. Latitudinal variation in this gene may hence reflect local adaptation to seasonal variation. In some bird populations, there is also an among-individual association between Clock poly-Q genotype(More)