Brian D Peer
Professor of Biological Sciences at Western Illinois University
“Battle for the nest: Coevolution between avian brood parasites and their hosts”
Wednesday, March 1
in BPSB 122
(940 E 57th St)
ABSTRACT: Avian brood parasites lay their eggs in the nest of other birds and rely on these hosts to care for their young. Brood parasitism is costly to the hosts and they have evolved a series of adaptations to reduce these costs, which in turn has selected for counter-adaptations by the brood parasites. One of the most enigmatic features of this system, and one that puzzled Darwin, is why hosts of brood parasites accept parasitism in spite of the significant costs. I will provide a brief overview of the brood parasites and their adaptations, and I will discuss the reasons for this apparent non-adaptive response to brood parasitism including the avian mafia, evolutionary lag, and evolutionary equilibrium. Finally, I will address the outcome of long term avian brood parasite-host coevolution.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in meeting with Brian or joining for lunch!