2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

The Combined Influence of Male and Female Phenotype on Offspring Fitness in the North American Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica erythrogaster


Patrick Moranville♦
Dr. Joanna K. Hubbard, Faculty Mentor

Phenotypic ornamentation can develop as the result of sexual selection, a process by which traits are associated with reproductive success. Ornamentation can communicate information such as quality to potential mates; for example, the rufous plumage exhibited in both sexes of the North American Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica erythrogaster, is a sexually selected ornament favoring darker plumages. I examined the influence a mated pair’s plumage coloration had on offspring fitness in H. r. erythrogaster by surveying nests across eight sites in Adair County during the 2018 breeding season. Paired individuals possessing darker plumages were predicted to produce larger offspring with darker plumage, while the offspring sex ratio was predicted to be skewed toward the sex of the parent possessing darker plumage. Examination of implications posed from interactions of parental phenotypes on offspring fitness broadens the scope of how we study sexual selection, which primarily focuses on a single sex.

Keywords: Barn Swallow, Sexual Selection, Phenotypic Ornamentation, Offspring Fitness

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 208-4
Location: MC 209
Time: 11:00

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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