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Snowbird: Integrative Biology and Evolutionary Diversity in the Junco

By: Ellen D Ketterson(Editor), Jonathan W Atwell(Editor)

389 pages, 8 plates with colour photos and colour illustrations; 20 b/w photos, 14 b/w illustrations, 6 tables

University of Chicago Press

Hardback | Apr 2016 | #227699 | ISBN-13: 9780226330778
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £44.99 $59/€51 approx

About this book

At birdfeeders and in backyards across North America, the dark-eyed junco, or snowbird, can be found foraging for its next meal. With an estimated population of at least 630 million, juncos inhabit forests, parks, and even suburban habitats, making them one of the continent's most abundant and easily observable songbirds. But while common and widespread, juncos also exhibit extraordinary diversity in color, shape, size, and behavior across their range, making them ideal study subjects for biologists interested in ecology and evolutionary diversification.

Intended for scholars, citizen scientists, and amateur ornithologists, alike, Snowbird synthesizes decades of research from the diverse and talented researchers who study the Junco genus. Though contributors approach their subject from a variety of perspectives, they share a common goal: elucidating the organismal and evolutionary processes by which animals adapt and diversify in response to environmental change. Placing special emphasis on the important role that underlying physiological, hormonal, and behavioral mechanisms play in these processes, Snowbird not only provides a definitive exploration of the junco's evolutionary history and behavioral and physiological diversity but also underscores the junco's continued importance as a model organism in a time of rapid global climate change. By merging often disparate biological fields, Snowbird offers biologists across disciplines an integrative framework for further research into adaptation, population divergence, and the formation of new species.

"A must have for anyone with a serious interest in juncos."
– Ian Paulsen, Birdbooker Report

"An interesting, thorough, and timely summary of decades of work on juncos. It will be of interest to not only ornithologists, but also behavioral ecologists, comparative physiologists, and evolutionary biologists."
– Zachary Cheviron, University of Montana

"An excellent, very readable, comprehensive, and diverse set of papers. It is clear the authors have made a great effort to integrate two perspectives, with several chapters dealing with this explicitly. The combination of the very strong existing reputation of the Ketterson lab, including substantial, significant contributions to the integration of organismal and evolutionary biology, with the broad appeal of the junco, a common, widely distributed species familiar to many, will make for a popular tome."
– Tony D. Williams, Simon Fraser University, author of Physiological Adaptations for Breeding in Birds

"I truly enjoyed reading Snowbird! The book is aimed at scientific readers, but it is written very elegantly, providing an easy and pleasant read. Even though it focuses on one species complex, it is amazingly broad in its approach, ranging from historic aspects of junco research to biogeography, taxonomy, endocrinology, behavior, evolution, speciation, sexual selection, and other topics. The authors did an excellent job in explaining the concepts that guided their research, thus appealing to both specialists and a broader audience of readers. The last chapter of the book is devoted entirely to outlining future research areas, again both in specific and broader areas of biology, which will be very useful for everyone aiming at continuing in the spirit of integrative research on major organismal questions. Snowbird will be an important addition to the scientific literature."
– Michaela Hau, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology



Chapter 1. Introduction
Ellen D. Ketterson and Jonathan W. Atwell

PART I. Opportunities and Challenges in Evolutionary and Integrative Biology Presented by the Avian Genus Junco

Part 1 Narrative Preamble

Chapter 2. The Junco: A Common Bird and a Classic Subject for Descriptive and Experimental Studies in Evolutionary and Integrative Biology
Ellen D. Ketterson and Jonathan W. Atwell

Chapter 3. Axes of Biogeographic Variation in the Avian Genus Junco: Habitat, Morphology, Migration, and Seasonal Timing, with Implications for Diversification under Heteropatry
Jonathan W. Atwell, Dawn O’Neal, and Ellen D. Ketterson

PART II. Hormones, Phenotypic Integration, and Life Histories: An Endocrine Approach

Part 2 Narrative Preamble

Chapter 4. Phenotypic Engineering: A Long-Term Study Using Hormones to Study Life-History Trade-Offs and Sexual Conflict
Nicole M. Gerlach and Ellen D. Ketterson

Chapter 5. Hormonal Pleiotropy and the Evolution of Correlated Traits
Joel W. McGlothlin and Ellen D. Ketterson

Chapter 6. Individual Variation and Selection on Hormone-Mediated Phenotypes in Male and Female Dark-Eyed Juncos
Kristal Cain, Jodie M. Jawor, and Joel W. McGlothlin

Chapter 7. Diving Deeper into Mechanism: Individual and Sex Differences in Testosterone Production, Sensitivity, and Genomic Responses
Kimberly A. Rosvall, Christine M. Bergeon Burns, and Mark P. Peterson

PART III. Evolutionary Diversification in the Avian Genus Junco: Pattern and Process

Part 3 Narrative Preamble

Chapter 8. More than Meets the Eye: Lineage Diversity and Evolutionary History of Dark-Eyed and Yellow-Eyed Juncos
Borja Milá, Pau Aleixandre, Sofía Alvarez-Nordström, and John McCormack

Chapter 9. The Potential Role of Parapatric and Alloparapatric Divergence in Junco Speciation
Trevor D. Price and Daniel M. Hooper

PART IV. Mechanisms of Divergence among Populations

Part 4 Narrative Preamble

Chapter 10. Shifts in Hormonal, Morphological, and Behavioral Traits in a Novel Environment: Comparing Recently Diverged Junco Populations
Jonathan W. Atwell, Danielle J. Whittaker, Trevor D. Price, and Ellen D. Ketterson

Chapter 11. A Physiological View of Population Divergence: Comparing Hormone Production and Response Mechanisms
Christine M. Bergeon Burns and Kimberly A. Rosvall

Chapter 12. Mate Choice in Dark-Eyed Juncos Using Visual, Acoustic, and Chemical Cues
Danielle J. Whittaker and Nicole M. Gerlach

Chapter 13. Dark-Eyed Junco Song: Linking Ontogeny and Function with a Potential Role in Reproductive Isolation
Gonçalo C. Cardoso and Dustin G. Reichard

Chapter 14. Standing on the Shoulders: Agendas for Future Research Addressing Evolutionary and Integrative Biology in a Rapidly Evolving Songbird
Ellen D. Ketterson and Jonathan W. Atwell


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Ellen D. Ketterson is distinguished professor of biology and gender studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and president of the American Society of Naturalists.

Jonathan W. Atwell is a research scientist and educator at Indiana University, Bloomington; he recently produced an award winning and widely distributed science film, Ordinary Extraordinary , which serves as a complement to Snowbird.

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