Matthew R. Evans

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Many bird species have patches of colour in their plumage, contrasting with their basic coloration, which are used to display and signal status to conspecifics. These are called ’badges of status’, because they are believed to be low-cost signals of social status. For a signalling system to be evolutionarily stable, cheating must be controlled. The(More)
Vertebrates respond to environmental stressors through the neuro-endocrine stress response, which involves the production of glucocorticoids. We have selected independent, duplicate divergent lines of zebra finches for high, low and control corticosterone responses to a mild stressor. This experiment has shown that over the first four generations, the high(More)
Sexually selected signals of individual dominance have profound effects on access to resources, mate choice and gene flow. However, why such signals should honestly reflect individual quality is poorly understood. Many such signals are known to develop under the influence of testosterone. We conducted an experiment in male house sparrows in which(More)
Conspicuous secondary sexual traits may have evolved as handicap-revealing signals or as badges of status. We present results of an experiment using males of the sexually dimorphic house sparrow (Passer domesticus), that support the idea that the male-specific bib can be both a handicap-revealing signal and a reliable badge indicating the physical condition(More)
The immunocompetence handicap hypothesis (ICHH) suggests that dominance signals are costly because their development is controlled by testosterone, which is immunosuppressive. Signal control therefore links an increased disease risk with a high quality signal. The chest bib of the house sparrow, Passer domesticus, is a signal known to be related to(More)
The existence of consistent individual differences in behavioral strategies ("personalities" or coping styles) has been reported in several animal species. Recent work in great tits has shown that such traits are heritable and exhibit significant genetic variation. Free-living birds respond to environmental stresses by up-regulating corticosterone(More)
The world is changing at an unprecedented rate. In such a situation, we need to understand the nature of the change and to make predictions about the way in which it might affect systems of interest; often we may also wish to understand what might be done to mitigate the predicted effects. In ecology, we usually make such predictions (or forecasts) by(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)
Models of sexual selection suggest that mate-choice preferences are favored because differences between males in their degree of ornamental exaggeration convey useful information about the direct or indirect benefits they have to offer [1-5]. Such arguments assume that variation in male ornament size can be attributed to variation in the degree of sexually(More)
Modellers of biological, ecological, and environmental systems cannot take for granted the maxim 'simple means general means good'. We argue here that viewing simple models as the main way to achieve generality may be an obstacle to the progress of ecological research. We show how complex models can be both desirable and general, and how simple and complex(More)