Zoology Alum wins ABS Founders Award for Best Poster
Lindsey Walters (PhD, 2008) won an Animal Behavior Society Founders Award for Best Poster, during the 2011 ABS Annual Meeting held in July in Bloomington, Indiana.
Lindsey Walter's Advisor in Zoology was Dr. Tom Getty.
Her Abstract appears below:
P410 ABS Founders Award Poster: SEXUAL SELECTION 2 (Poster Session B)
EGG COLOR INFLUENCES THE NESTLING PROVISIONING RATE OF MALE HOUSE WRENS
Lindsey Walters, Northern Kentucky University
269 / Behavior 2011
Recent research suggests that female birds could use eggshell color as a signal to advertise their quality or investment in order to secure more parental care from their mates. Previous studies have found support for this hypothesis in bird species that lay blue eggs, but it has not been thoroughly tested in species that lay brown eggs. In house wrens (Troglodytes aedon), browner eggs are associated with lower female investment. I present results from a study testing whether males respond to this potential cue. I experimentally manipulated egg color by randomly adding either a brown or white plastic egg to each nest during incubation. Male house wrens whose nests had received a white egg provisioned their nestlings at significantly higher rates than males whose nests had received a brown egg. These results suggest that male house wrens pay attention to female investment when deciding how much energy they should spend on nestling provisioning. This study supports the generality of the hypothesis of egg color as a sexually selected signal by demonstrating for the first time that males of a species with brown eggs also respond to egg color.