Tony D. Williams

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In species where offspring fitness is sex-specifically influenced by maternal reproductive condition, sex allocation theory predicts that poor-quality mothers should invest in the evolutionarily less expensive sex. Despite an accumulation of evidence that mothers can sex-specifically modulate investment in offspring in relation to maternal quality, few(More)
Twenty years ago, Albert Bennett published a paper in the influential book New directions in ecological physiology arguing that individual variation was an 'underutilized resource'. In this paper, I review our state of knowledge of the magnitude, mechanisms and functional significance of phenotypic variation, plasticity and flexibility in endocrine systems,(More)
A productive synthesis of endocrinology and evolutionary genetics has occurred during the past two decades, resulting in the first direct documentation of genetic variation and correlation for endocrine regulators in nondomesticated animals. In a number of insect genetic polymorphisms (dispersal polymorphism in crickets, butterfly wing-pattern(More)
Optimal functioning of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is paramount to maximizing fitness in vertebrates. Research in laboratory mammals has suggested that maternally-induced stress can cause significant variation in the responsiveness of an offspring's HPA axis involving both pre- and post-natal developmental mechanisms. However, very little(More)
The question of why maternal stress influences offspring phenotype is of significant interest to evolutionary physiologists. Although embryonic exposure to maternally derived glucocorticoids (i.e., corticosterone) generally reduces offspring quality, effects may adaptively match maternal quality with offspring demand. We present results from an interannual(More)
Current research in birds suggests that a conflict should exist during reproduction for the role of the glucocorticoid corticosterone (CORT). While elevated levels have been correlated with the increased energetic demand of raising offspring, elevated CORT levels have traditionally been implicated in reproductive abandonment. We examined the relationship(More)
We investigated the quantitative matching of plasma yolk precursor supply (the plasma pool) to follicle demand during yolk formation in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Plasma concentrations of the two yolk precursors, vitellogenin (VTG) and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), were only elevated coincident with rapid yolk development (RYD) and(More)
Although individual variation is a key requirement for natural selection, little is known about the magnitude and patterns of individual variation in endocrine systems or the functional significance of that variation. Here we describe (1) the extent and repeatability of inter-individual variation in adrenocortical responses and (2) its relationship to(More)
We identified six approaches to diagnosing causes of population declines and illustrate the use of the most general one (“multiple competing hypotheses”) to determine which of three candidate limiting factors—food availability, nesting site availability, and nest predation—were responsible for the exceptionally poor reproduction of Marbled Murrelets ((More)