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.
Slade JWG, Y Sarquis-Adamson, GB Gloor, MA Lachance & EA MacDougall-Shackleton. 2016. Population differences at MHC do not explain song sparrows’ enhanced resistance to local parasites. Journal of Heredity. DOI: 10.1093/jhered/esw082
Slade JWG, MJ Watson, TR Kelly, GB Gloor, MA Bernards & EA MacDougall-Shackleton. 2016. Chemical composition of preen wax reflects MHC similarity in songbirds. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1966
Sarquis-Adamson Y & EA MacDougall-Shackleton. 2016. Song sparrows Melospiza melodia have a home-field advantage in defending against sympatric malarial parasites. Royal Society Open Science 3: 160216. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160216
Lymburner A, TR Kelly, KA Hobson, EA MacDougall-Shackleton & SA MacDougall-Shackleton. 2016. Testosterone, migration distance, and migratory timing in song sparrows Melospiza melodia. Hormones and Behavior 85: 102-107.
Kelly TR, HL MacGillivray, Y Sarquis-Adamson, MJ Watson, KA Hobson & EA MacDougall-Shackleton. 2016. Seasonal migration distance varies with natal dispersal and has age-specific effects on parasitism in song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 70: 1857-1866.