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Research Seminar: Games Bowerbirds Play: When Male-Male Competition Gets Destructive

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
4:00 AM
Alumni Room, Gates Lecture Hall, University of Michigan Biological Station on Douglas Lake, 9133 Biological Road, Pellston.

This is part of our Summer Lecture Series. All events are free and open to the public.

Bowerbirds occur in Australia and New Guinea. They are unique among birds because males build external structures (bowers) that serve as the focus of both male-male interactions and female choice. Thus, bowers represent externalized secondary sexual characters of males. Males display at their own bower, but also attempt to destroy the bowers of their neighbors as well as steal the decorations at their neighbor’s bowers. In this lecture, Dr. Stephen Pruett-Jones describes a series of theoretical (game theory) models developed to examine the costs and benefits of bower marauding. Stephen Pruett-Jones is a faculty member in Ecology and Evolution at University of Chicago. His research concerns social behavior, population biology, and evolutionary biology, primarily in birds. During winter and spring he works in Illinois on monk parakeets, during the summer in Michigan on damselflies, and each autumn he works in Australia on fairy-wrens. He has worked in Australia or Papua New Guinea since 1976.