Professor and Research Chair in Evolutionary Biology
Research: More than 130 years ago, Charles Darwin suggested that some plant and
animal features might help individuals to obtain mates, even though those traits were detrimental to survival. Such ‘sexually selected’ traits, he said, are thus very different from survival traits that resulted from natural selection. Even though this was a major scientific discovery, it was largely ignored for more than a century for both sociological and scientific reasons. The past 30 years, though, has seen a major resurgence of interest in sexual selection due to the development of both sophisticated theories that make a variety of interesting predictions and new experimental, molecular and observational techniques that allow us to thoroughly test those theories. Our research focuses on both precopulatory (mate attraction) and postcopulatory (fertilization) characteristics of animals to test and develop theory that will help us to better explain the diversity of animals that have evolved as a result of sexual selection. Our current research addresses two general questions: (1) Why is there so much variation in colour within and among species of birds? and (2) Why does the size, structure and behaviour of sperm vary so much?
Some Recent Publications:
- English P, Montgomerie R. 2011. Robin’s egg blue: does egg color influence male parental care? for Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, online Nov 2010: DOI: 10.1007/s00265-010-1107-9.
- Montgomerie R 2011. The end of behavioral ecology EVOLUTION first published online 10 DEC 2010, DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01192.x [invited essay and book review]
- Montgomerie R, Lyon B. 2011. Snow Bunting. In The Birds of North America ON-LINE, No. 198 (A Poole and F Gill eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and The American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C.
- Montgomerie R, Lyon B. 2011. McKay’s Bunting. In The Birds of North America ON-LINE, No. 199 (A Poole and F Gill eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and The American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C.
- Montgomerie R. 2010. Sexual conflict and the intromittent organs of male birds. Pp 453-470 in Leonard, J. Genitalia. Oxford Univ Press, Oxford.
- Venturelli P, Murphy C, Shuter BJ, Johnston TA, deGroot PJ, Boag PJ, Casselman J, Montgomerie R, Weigand MD, Leggett WC. 2010. Maternal influences on population dynamics: evidence from an exploited freshwater fish. Ecology 91:2003-2012. doi: 10.1890/09-1218
- Martin PR, Montgomerie R, Lougheed SC. 2010. Rapid sympatry explains greater rapid color pattern divergence in high latitude birds. Evolution 64:336-347.
- Montgomerie R, Fitzpatrick J 2009 Testes, sperm, and sperm competition. pp 1-53 in Jamieson BGM. Reproductive Biology and Phylogeny of Fishes (Agnathans and Bony Fishes), Part B, Science Publishers Inc., Enfield, NH.
- Murphy TG, Rosenthall MF, Montgomerie R, Tarvin KA. 2009 Female American goldfinches use carotenoid-based bill coloration to signal status. Behavioral Ecology 20:1348-1355.
- Montgomerie R, Birkhead TR. 2009. Samuel Pepys’s hand-coloured copy of John Ray’s ‘The Ornithology of Francis Willughby’ (1678). Journal of Ornithology 150:883-891 DOI 10.1007/s10336-009-0413-3
- Dakin R, Montgomerie R. 2009 Peacocks orient their courtship displays towards the sun. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 63:825-834
- Fitzpatrick JL, Montgomerie R, Desjardins JK, Stiver KA, Kolm N, Balshine S. 2009. Female promiscuity promotes the evolution of faster sperm in cichlid fishes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106:1128-1132
- Rosengrave P, Montgomerie R, Metcalf V, McBride K, Gemmel NJ 2008 A mechanism for cryptic female choice in chinook salmon. Behavioural Ecology 19:1179-1185 doi:10.1093/beheco/arn089
- Fitzpatrick J, Desjardin JK, Milligan N, Stiver KA, Montgomerie R, Balshine S. 2008. Female-mediated causes and consequences of status change in a social ﬁsh. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 275:929-936