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Queen's University

BIOL 537 2015-16
Dr. R. Montgomerie

Rm: 3522 Bioscience Complex
Tel: (613) 533-6127
Faculty Web Site:

We are working on a variety of projects on the reproductive tactics of animals, mainly birds, fish, Drosophila, and humans that involve behavioural observations and experiments, microscope work and molecular genetics analysis. I would be willing to supervise honours students in any of the following projects—we can work out the details depending upon your specific interests and time. I will be away in the field in France this spring so would prefer not to supervise students in the summer months, though one of my grad students may be able to.

Project 1 Colour and pattern perception and discrimination
This is the main focus of my current research program, looking at the ability of birds, humans and other animals to distinguish between different colours and patters that they see. The research will involve behavioural observations and experiments with captive birds and other animals (including humans!) to determine what they can see, how what they see affects their behaviour and what they can discriminate under different lighting and social situations. Depending upon student interests and abilities, this project could involve some computer modelling, experimental testing, and image analysis

Project 2 Drosophila sexual selection and sperm competition
I work with Dr. Chippindale on this project and am willing to cosupervise students to work on any of the projects he has listed.

Project 3 Feather colours and ornaments
Analysis of the structure and colours of bird feathers to determine the relation between feather colour and feather quality. This project could involve lab work using microscopy and spectrophotometry, museum specimen and literature surveys of ornamental traits, and phylogenetic analysis.

Project 4 Analysis of bird song and behaviour
The raw data (video and sound recordings) for 3 different projects has already been collected. The analysis of any one of these sets of recordings would make a nice 537 project, looking at the daily patterning and dawn chorus of bird song in the Pyrenees, southern Ontario and California, the dominance and vigilance behaviour of golden-crowned sparrows in California, and the advertising songs of American robins.

    Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000