Category Archives: birds

Does it pay to be parasitized?

Raven Edwards wrote this post as a project for Dr. Stacy Krueger-Hadfield’s Evolution course at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is a Master’s student in Dr. James McClintock’s lab where she is studying the growth of variegated sea urchins. Raven completed … Continue reading

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“Of all the Islands in all the Seas in all the World…”

Ashley Jones wrote this post as a part of Dr. Stacy Krueger-Hadfield’s Scientific Communication course at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She earned a B.S. in Animal Science from Auburn University where she also spent several years working at … Continue reading

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Co-opting responses for old enemies

On Friday, Shelby Gantt introduced us to an unusual type of parasite, the brood parasite! As Shelby eloquently described, brood parasitism is when an individual’s offspring are raised by someone else who incurs a cost to raising these offspring. The … Continue reading

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How many samples do you need to investigate relationships between genetic make-up & immune function?

When an organism is exposed to a pathogen, what determines their ability to resist or recover from infection? Mounting an effective immune response is a complex dance with multiple partners, changing tempos, and maybe even a costume change or two: … Continue reading

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The crows have eyes — but not only for members of their own species

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In the aftermath of fire, bluebird species boundaries may blur

One of the most clear-cut reasons that species evolve to fill different ecological niches is competition. Two otherwise similar species that use the same resources experience strong selection favoring the use of less-similar resources, if they have the option. The … Continue reading

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Shared patterns of genomic diversity across populations of distantly related taxa

Genomic diversity is shaped by the complex interplay between the effects of genetic drift and natural selection among populations. Several of these effects, especially those of linked selection at neutral sites, adaptive introgression, and barriers to migration (often called “genomic … Continue reading

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The seeds of speciation

You don’t have to get very far into an evolution textbook before you bump into Darwin’s finches, the birds descended from South American finches that colonized the Galapagos Islands and “radiated” into an array of different species, each with a … Continue reading

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At the molecular level, there’s more than one way to fly higher

Parallel adaptation is coming into its own lately, as we’re increasingly able to examine the molecular changes underlying similar adaptations in distantly related species. A fundamental prediction of evolutionary theory is that species coping with the same environment should converge … Continue reading

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