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Female choice for male ornamental traits is widely accepted as a mechanism by which females maximize their reproductive success and/or offspring quality. However, there is an increasing empirical literature that shows a fitness benefit of genetic diversity and a tendency for females to use genetic dissimilarity as a criterion for mate choice. This genetic(More)
Most studies of condition-dependent sexual ornaments have treated such ornaments as single traits. However, sexual ornaments are often composites of several components, each produced by partially independent developmental pathways. Depending on environmental and individual condition, components of these ornaments may reflect different behavioral or(More)
Trade-offs in resource allocation have been widely stated as the means by which the honesty of ornamental traits is maintained, but an alternative to this resource trade-off hypothesis is that production of ornamentation is linked to the biochemical efficiency of vital cellular processes. Carotenoids are antioxidants, potentially tying carotenoid-based(More)
The striking diversity of sexual dimorphisms in nature begs the question: Why are there so many signal types? One possibility is that ornamental traits convey different sets of information about the quality of the sender to the receiver. The colourful, pigmented feathers of male birds seem to meet the predictions of this hypothesis. Evidence suggests that(More)
Sexual size dimorphism of adults proximately results from a combination of sexually dimorphic growth patterns and selection on growing individuals. Yet, most studies of the evolution of dimorphism have focused on correlates of only adult morphologies. Here we examined the ontogeny of sexual size dimorphism in an isolated population of the house finch(More)
Most species of birds can lay only one egg per day until a clutch is complete, and the order in which eggs are laid often has strong and sex-specific effects on offspring growth and survival. In two recently established populations of the house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) in Montana and Alabama, breeding females simultaneously adjusted the sex and growth(More)
Carotenoid pigments can directly enhance the immune responses of vertebrates, and they are used by many animals to create ornamental color displays. It has been hypothesized that these two functions of carotenoid pigments are linked: animals must trade off use of carotenoid pigments for immune function versus ornamental display. We tested two key(More)
The phenotype of a mother and the environment that she provides might differentially affect the phenotypes of her sons and daughters, leading to change in sexual size dimorphism. Whereas these maternal effects should evolve to accommodate the adaptations of both the maternal and offspring generations, the mechanisms by which this is accomplished are rarely(More)