Elizabeth A MacDougall-Shackleton

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Stimulus-induced expression of the immediate early gene ZENK (egr-1) in the songbird's auditory forebrain presumably depends on the behavioral significance of the stimulus. Few studies, however, have quantified both the ZENK and behavioral responses to a stimulus in the same individuals. We played conspecific male song of either hatch (local) or foreign(More)
In songbirds, hearing conspecific song induces robust expression of the immediate early gene zenk in the auditory forebrain. This genomic response to song is well characterized in males and females of many species, and is highly selective for behaviorally relevant song. In white-throated sparrows, the selectivity of the zenk response requires breeding(More)
The stress response--increases in circulating glucocorticoids following a stressor--is typically considered adaptive, but few studies address the fitness consequences of individual variation in stress response. Generally, due to negative consequences of prolonged elevation of glucocorticoids, animals should have a transient stress response just sufficient(More)
Bird song often varies geographically within a species; when this geographic variation has distinct boundaries, the shared song types are referred to as song dialects. How dialects are produced and their adaptive significance are longstanding problems in biology, with implications for the role of culture in the evolution and ecology of diverse organisms,(More)
Evolutionary changes in patterns and coloration of plumage are likely to represent a major mechanism for speciation among birds, yet the molecular basis for such changes remains poorly understood. Recently much attention has focused on the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) as a candidate locus for determining the level and extent of epidermal melanin(More)
Complex birdsong is a classic example of a sexually selected ornamental trait. In many species, females prefer males with large song repertoires, possibly because repertoire size is limited by the size of song control nuclei which reflect developmental success. We investigated whether song repertoire size was indicative of brain area and male quality in(More)
Variation in the prenatal and postnatal environments can have long-term effects on adult phenotype. In humans and other animals, exposure to stressors can lead to long-term changes in physiology. These changes may predispose individuals to disease, especially disorders involving energy metabolism. In addition, by permanently altering metabolic rates and(More)
Regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is a key component of the vertebrate stress response. Prior studies have found that variation in HPA responses were correlated to measures of fitness and physiological condition. In addition, sexually-selected traits have also been found to correlate to measures of condition. The proximate(More)
Coevolution with parasites is thought to maintain genetic diversity in host populations. However, while there are sound theoretical reasons to expect heterozygosity and parasite resistance to be related, this pattern has generally been shown only in inbred laboratory and island populations. This leaves doubt as to whether parasite-mediated selection for(More)
Geographical variation in birdsong is taxonomically widespread and behaviourally salient, with females often preferring local over non-local song. However, the benefits associated with this preference remain poorly understood. One potential explanation is that song may reflect a male's place of origin and thus allow females to obtain genes well adapted to(More)