Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology

This broad term encompasses the interactions among ecology, behaviour, and evolutionary history of species. Magnificent Frigatebirds in chase for nesting material (photo by Sarah Trefry).Our work in this area currently focuses on seeking evolutionary, ethological and ecological explanations for the extraordinary pattern of sexual dimorphism seen in frigatebirds (family Fregatidae); these are unique among birds in showing exaggerated ornamentation in males combined with reversed sexual size dimorphism (females larger than males), and unique among seabirds in the degree of sexual dichromatism. Sarah Trefry's Ph.D. study of sexual dimorphism in Magnificent Frigatebirds is currently our only research in this area, but we would like to bring a similar approach to studying sexual ornamentation in Atlantic Puffins, where size dimorphism is minimal and both sexes are ornamented.