Renée A. Duckworth

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Behaviors can facilitate colonization of a novel environment, but the mechanisms underlying this process are poorly understood. On one hand, behavioral flexibility allows for an immediate response of colonizers to novel environments, which is critical to population establishment and persistence. On the other hand, integrated sets of behaviors that display(More)
Maternal modification of offspring sex in birds has strong fitness consequences, however the mechanisms by which female birds can bias sex of their progeny in close concordance with the environment of breeding are not known. In recently established populations of house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus), breeding females lay a sex-biased sequence of eggs when(More)
Male investment into sexual ornamentation is a reproductive decision that depends on the context of breeding and life history state. In turn, selection for state- and context-specific expression of sexual ornamentation should favour the evolution of developmental pathways that enable the flexible allocation of resources into sexual ornamentation. We studied(More)
The importance of behaviours as instigators or inhibitors of evolutionary change remains largely unresolved and this is in part because there are very few empirical examples of how behaviours affect evolutionary processes. By determining the environment of breeding, aggressive interactions over territories have the potential to strongly impact selection(More)
Discrete behavioral strategies comprise a suite of traits closely integrated in their expression with consistent natural selection for such coexpression leading to developmental and genetic integration of their components. However, behavioral traits are often also selected to respond rapidly to changing environments, which should both favor their(More)
The evolutionary importance of maternal effects is determined by the interplay of maternal adaptations and strategies, offspring susceptibility to these strategies, and the similarity of selection pressures between the two generations. Interaction among these components, especially in species where males and females differ in the costs and requirements of(More)
An important question in ecology is how mechanistic processes occurring among individuals drive large-scale patterns of community formation and change. Here we show that in two species of bluebirds, cycles of replacement of one by the other emerge as an indirect consequence of maternal influence on offspring behavior in response to local resource(More)
Understanding the causes of dispersal is important as it strongly influences population dynamics and evolution. However, context dependency of dispersal decisions, such as effects of social interactions and resource availability, is rarely disentangled from intrinsic factors, such as animal personality. Western bluebirds provide a unique opportunity to(More)
Correlations between population density, natural selection and phenotypic change are widespread and may comprise an eco-evolutionary feedback loop, yet we still know very little about the causes of connections between them. Isolating the mechanistic links in eco-evolutionary feedback loops, both in terms of identifying sources of variation in traits and in(More)
Personality traits are behaviors that show limited flexibility over time and across contexts, and thus understanding their origin requires an understanding of what limits behavioral flexibility. Here, I suggest that insight into the evolutionary origin of personality traits requires determining the relative importance of selection and constraint in(More)
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