Parasites are taxonomically and geographically widespread, and can have catastrophic effects on host survival and reproduction. As a result, parasites are increasingly recognized as critical drivers of host evolution. Research in my lab seeks to understand how evolutionary processes such as parasite-mediated selection interact with ecological processes such as seasonal migration, natal dispersal, mate choice and immune development to shape patterns of genetic variation within and among songbird populations. Specific projects include evolutionary arms races between songbirds and malarial parasites; geographic variation in parasite assemblages and in immune-related loci such as the major histocompatibility complex (MHC); effects of infectious disease on the timing, distance and success of seasonal migration; ecological immunology of migration and dispersal; and chemical and acoustic signals by which songbirds advertise their genetic makeup at MHC and assess that of potential mates.
SLymburner AH, TR Kelly, KA Hobson, EA MacDougall-Shackleton and SA MacDougall-Shackleton. 2016. Testosterone, migration distance, and migratory timing in song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). Hormones and Behavior, in press.
Sarquis-Adamson Y and EA MacDougall-Shackleton. 2016. Song sparrows Melospiza melodia have a home-field advantage in defending against sympatric malarial parasites. Royal Society Open Science, in press.
Kelly TR, HL MacGillivray, Y Sarquis-Adamson, MJ Watson, KA Hobson and EA MacDougall-Shackleton. 2016. Seasonal migration distance varies with natal dispersal and predicts parasitic infection in song sparrows Melospiza melodia. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, published online: doi 10.1007/s00265-016-2191-2
Potvin DA, PW Crawford , SA MacDougall-Shackleton and EA MacDougall-Shackleton. 2015. Song complexity, not territory location, predicts reproductive success in a migratory songbird. Canadian Journal of Zoology 93: 627-633.
Zylberberg M, EP Derryberry, CW Breuner, EA MacDougall-Shackleton, JM Cornelius and TP Hahn. 2015. Haemoproteus infected birds have increased lifetime reproductive success. Parasitology 142: 1033-1043.