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)
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)
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)
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 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)
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)
disease of poultry, was first diagnosed in the House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) in January 1994 in Maryland. This disease spread rapidly in House Finch populations throughout the eastern United States, and in less than a year cases were described in populations from New York to North Carolina (Fischer et al. 1997). By 1997 the disease had reached(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)