Friday, April 16, 2010
Scandal at the Museum of the Earth...
"Philandering Females: investigating the potential benefits of extra-pair mating in housewrens" with Anna Forsman, Cornell University
House wrens, like other socially monogamous birds, form pair-bonds between males and females for the purpose of rearing offspring. However, both sexes have been found to engage in extra-pair copulations with other individuals, resulting in broods of mixed paternity. Males benefit directly through increased number of offspring sired, whereas females do not because of limitations on the number of eggs she can produce and care for at any given time. Therefore it has been hypothesized that females may instead gain indirect genetic benefits from extra-pair males that increase the quality of the resulting offspring. In this talk I will discuss the results of my Master’s work investigating condition and immune responsiveness of nestlings in relation to paternity in a population of house wrens breeding in central Illinois.