Alice Boyle

Alice Boyle
Kansas State University | KSU · Division of Biology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

65
Publications
12,629
Reads
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1,353
Citations
Introduction
Alice Boyle currently works at the Department of Biology, Kansas State University. Alice is an avian ecologist with research programs in the grasslands of the central USA and in the tropical wet forests of Central America. www.aliceboyle.net
Additional affiliations
April 2019 - present
Kansas State University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
October 2012 - April 2019
Kansas State University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (65)
Article
Elevational gradients provide powerful natural systems for testing hypotheses regarding the role of environmental variation in the evolution of life-history strategies. Case studies have revealed shifts towards slower life histories in organisms living at high elevations yet no synthetic analyses exist of elevational variation in life-history trait...
Article
Full-text available
Biotic selective pressures dominate explanations for the evolutionary ecology of tropical endotherms. Yet, abiotic factors, principally precipitation regimes, shape biogeographical and phenological patterns in tropical regions. Despite its importance, we lack a framework for understanding when, why, and how rain affects endotherms. Here, we review...
Article
Full-text available
Reproductive behaviour is generally under strong natural and sexual selection, meaning that variation in mate attraction investment reveals important fitness trade-offs. Nevertheless, in many taxa with sex-specific displays, individuals differ considerably in such investment. Male white-ruffed manakins, Corapipo altera (Pipridae), exhibit dramatic...
Article
Tropical animals respond to rainfall in population-specific ways. In extremely wet regions, endotherms experience heavy rains as stressors with consequences for behavior and demography. Ultimately, such stressors can affect the relative strength of abiotic selection, reducing the scope for sexual selection and other biotic sources of selection. We...
Article
Full-text available
Intensification of livestock production has reduced heterogeneity in vegetative structure in managed grasslands, which has been linked to widespread declines in grassland songbird populations throughout North America. Patch-burn grazing management aims to restore some of that heterogeneity in vegetative structure by burning discrete pasture section...
Article
Body size mediates life history, physiology and inter- and intra-specific interactions. Within species, sexes frequently differ in size, reflecting divergent selective pressures and/or constraints. Both sexual selection and differences in environmentally mediated reproductive constraints can drive sexual size dimorphism, but empirically testing cau...
Preprint
Full-text available
Species distribution models (SDMs) are increasingly used in ecology, biogeography, and wildlife management to learn about the species-habitat relationships and abundance across space and time. Distance sampling (DS) and capture-recapture (CR) are two widely collected data types to learn about species-habitat relationships and abundance; still, they...
Article
Full-text available
In the original publication of the article, Table 1 was published incorrectly. The level of significance for the modelled fixed effect of grassland edge density on Grasshopper Sparrow occurrence was omitted from the published table. Grassland edge density had a significant negative effect on Grasshopper Sparrow occurrence (β = − 0.71, standard erro...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat fragmentation can exacerbate the negative effects of habitat loss for some species. Mitigating fragmentation is difficult, however, because population responses depend on species-level traits (e.g., dispersal ability, edge sensitivity) and landscape context (e.g., habitat amount). Thus, conservation requires determining not only if, but als...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ecologists use distance sampling to estimate the abundance of plants and animals while correcting for undetected individuals. By design, data collection is simplified by requiring only the distances from a transect to the detected individuals be recorded. Compared to traditional design-based methods that require restrictive assumption and limit the...
Article
Human induced climate and land‐use change are severely impacting global biodiversity, but how community composition and richness of multiple taxonomic groups change in response to local drivers and whether these responses are synchronous remains unclear. We used long‐term community‐level data from an experimentally‐manipulated grassland to assess t...
Article
Full-text available
Seasonal and daily fluctuations in environmental temperature can affect the fitness of endotherms by increasing metabolic costs and energetic requirements. Consequently, some species adopt strategies that function to minimize costs, including minor circadian fluctuations in body temperature (Tb) and facultative reductions in Tb, known as heterother...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the drivers of animal distributions is a fundamental goal of ecology and informs habitat management. The costs and benefits of colonial aggregations in animals are well established, but the factors leading to aggregation in territorial animals remain unclear. Territorial animals might aggregate to facilitate social behavior such as (1...
Article
Keywords: breeding dispersal habitat variability nomadism settlement territory switching within-season dispersal Understanding the causes and consequences of dispersal is key to identifying selective pressures underlying species-level variation in biogeography, metapopulation dynamics and adaptive capacity. We tested the hypotheses that nest predat...
Article
Many classic examples of sexually selected traits result from females making informed mate choices. Behaviors by males that increase their own reproductive success at the expense of female choice can undermine such mating systems. We documented an apparently rare example of such a behavior involving “cheating” in a facultatively cooperatively-displ...
Article
en Despite the importance of tropical birds in the development of life history theory, we lack information about demographic rates and drivers of population dynamics for most species. We used a 7‐year (2007–2013) capture‐mark‐recapture dataset from an exceptionally wet premontane forest at mid‐elevation in Costa Rica to estimate apparent survival f...
Article
Researchers often use simple body condition indices (BCI) to estimate the relative size of fat stores in bats. Animals determined to be in better condition are assumed to be more successful and have higher fitness. The most common BCI used in bat research are the ratio index (body mass divided by forearm length) or residual index (residuals of body...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
High mountain habitats are experiencing globally significant increases in temperature, extreme weather and climate-induced habitat loss, but predicting impacts to birds is hampered by the limited information regarding avian use of temperate mountain areas in the Americas. We used point count methods, across elevations to examine taxonomic and funct...
Article
Full-text available
1. Habitat loss, fragmentation, and alteration of the landscape matrix are interdependent processes, collectively responsible for most recent species extinctions. Thus, determining the extent to which these landscape processes affect animals is critical for conservation. However, researchers have often assumed that interdependent effects are indepe...
Article
Full-text available
Animal migration has been the subject of intensive research for more than a century, but most research has focused on long‐distance rather than short‐distance migration. Altitudinal migration is a form of short‐distance migration in which individuals perform seasonal elevational movements. Despite its geographic and taxonomic ubiquity, there is rel...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Wildlife conservation requires understanding how landscape context influences habitat selection at spatial scales broader than the territory or habitat patch. Objectives We assessed how landscape composition, fragmentation, and disturbance affected occurrence and within-season site-fidelity of a declining grassland songbird species (Henslo...
Article
Plasma metabolite analysis is frequently used to assess the energetic state and energy intake of birds. Plasma β-hydroxybutyrate (BUTY) is a common metabolite used in these studies, and is correlated with fasting and mass loss. BUTY is typically quantified in laboratory assays that are costly, time-consuming, and prone to human error. We tested the...
Article
Full-text available
Dispersal is a ubiquitous behavior with important consequences for gene flow, demography, and conservation. Some birds engage in between-year breeding dispersal, but the factors shaping variation in this behavior are not well understood. In mid-continental grasslands, preliminary evidence suggested that Grasshopper Sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum)...
Article
Full-text available
Altitudinal bird migration involves annual seasonal movements up and down elevational gradients. Despite the fact that species from montane avifaunas worldwide engage in altitudinal migration, the patterns, causes, and prevalence of these movements are poorly understood. This is particularly true in North America where the overwhelming majority of...
Article
Elevational gradients provide powerful natural systems for testing hypotheses regarding the role of environmental variation in the evolution of life-history strategies. Case studies have revealed shifts towards slower life histories in organisms living at high elevations yet no synthetic analyses exist of elevational variation in life-history trait...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forest understory birds are declining globally for unknown reasons, indicating an urgent need to understand the causes. We review and synthesize studies investigating causes of these declines focusing on the Sarapiquí region of the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica. We discuss evidence for five potential causes of population declines motivated...
Article
Full-text available
In August 2013, we observed a high incidence (44%) of synchronous bands of reduced melanin (a type of fault bar we have termed " pallid bands ") across the rectrices of juvenile Grasshopper Sparrows (Ammodrammus savannarum) captured near El Reno, Oklahoma. Earlier that year, on May 31, the site was struck by a severe storm which rained hailstones e...
Preprint
Full-text available
In August 2013, we observed a high incidence (44%) of synchronous fault bars across the rectrices of juvenile Grasshopper Sparrows ( Ammodrammus savannarum ) captured near El Reno, Oklahoma. Earlier that year, on May 31, the site was struck by a severe storm which rained hailstones exceeding 5.5 cm diameter and spawned an historic 4.2 km-wide torna...
Preprint
Full-text available
In August 2013, we observed a high incidence (44%) of synchronous fault bars across the rectrices of juvenile Grasshopper Sparrows ( Ammodrammus savannarum ) captured near El Reno, Oklahoma. Earlier that year, on May 31, the site was struck by a severe storm which rained hailstones exceeding 5.5 cm diameter and spawned an historic 4.2 km-wide torna...
Article
Full-text available
Investigation of the ecological and evolutionary basis for the often-intriguing courtship behavior of animals requires that we understand the patterns of variation inherent in such behaviors. The courtship displays of the White-ruffed Manakin (Corapipo altera) are not well-known, and previously published descriptions and interpretations of displays...
Article
Full-text available
Altitudinal migrations are common in all major vertebrate and some invertebrate lineages. Such migrations have important implications for the basic and applied ecology of animals making these movements. The idea that bats make altitudinal migrations has been suggested for nearly a century. However, studies documenting the existence and causes of al...
Article
Full-text available
Reproductive phenologies of plants are constrained by climate in highly seasonal regions. In contrast, plants growing in wet tropical forests are freed from many abiotic constraints, which in canopy tree communities lead to a rich diversity of phenological patterns within and among individuals, species and communities. However, basic descriptions o...
Article
Full-text available
There are a large number of ornithological societies in North America, some dating back to the 1880s. Although they differ in part by history, region, scientific approach and taxonomic focus, many of the memberships overlap and the societies are increasingly holding joint meetings. The largest of
Article
Full-text available
1. Birds often lose body mass during nesting. Determining whether this mass loss represents an energetic cost of reproduction (energetic stress hypothesis), serves an adaptive function (flight efficiency hypothesis), or results from physiological processes that are neutral with respect to fitness (e.g. gonadal regression hypothesis) is important to...
Article
Partial migration of tropical birds was long believed to be driven by variation in food abundance. Recent evidence from a partially-migratory species suggests that in contrast, limited foraging opportunities at high elevations during severe wet season storms drives the most metabolically-challenged individuals down to elevations where rainfall is l...
Article
Full-text available
Facultative, partially migratory animals provide a contemporary window into the evolution of migration, offering rare opportunities to examine the life-history trade-offs associated with migration. For the first time, to our knowledge, we describe the nature of these trade-offs, using a lek-breeding tropical bird, the white-ruffed manakin (Corapipo...
Article
Full-text available
Annual migrations of birds profoundly influence terrestrial communities. However, few empirical studies examine why birds migrate, in part due to the difficulty of testing causal hypotheses in long-distance migration systems. Short-distance altitudinal migrations provide relatively tractable systems in which to test explanations for migration. Many...
Article
Full-text available
Although migration is a widespread and taxonomically diverse behaviour, the ecological factors shaping migratory behaviour are poorly understood. Like other montane taxa, many birds migrate along elevational gradients in the tropics. Forty years ago, Alexander Skutch postulated that severe storms could drive birds to migrate downhill. Here, we arti...
Data
Sources for data. (0.03 MB DOC)
Data
Migratory distance, body mass, brain mass and source of brain data for the species included in this study. Endocranial volumes were converted to mass by multiplying the reported value by the density of fresh brain tissue [1.036 g ml–1, 1]). (0.90 MB DOC)
Article
Full-text available
Despite important recent progress in our understanding of brain evolution, controversy remains regarding the evolutionary forces that have driven its enormous diversification in size. Here, we report that in passerine birds, migratory species tend to have brains that are substantially smaller (relative to body size) than those of resident species,...
Article
Full-text available
Many animals undergo annual migrations. These movements are well studied at proximate levels, but their fundamental causes are poorly understood. Among tropical frugivorous birds, annual migration is thought to have evolved in the context of exploiting reciprocal peaks in fruit abundance among locations and seasons, yet previous tests of this hypot...
Article
Full-text available
Little is known about how land-use changes affect interspecific interactions such as fruit-frugivore mutualisms. Forest age could affect both fruit sugar concentrations via differences in light availability or disperser abundance, and fruit removal rates via differences in bird and plant community composition. We examined how these two factors are...
Article
Full-text available
Resumen. – Como mantener aves frugívoras de montañas tropicales en cautiverio. – Conforme el estudio de la ornitología Neotropical madura, incrementa el número de investigadores que en lugar de métodos principalmente observacionales de las aves en su entorno natural, utilizan métodos experimen-tales que a menudo requieren que las aves sean mantenid...
Article
1. Partially migratory species provide opportunities to understand which ecological factors cause some animals to migrate when others remain resident year round. Partial migration in birds has been explained by the dominance, arrival-time, and body-size hypotheses. 2. Testing these hypotheses has proven difficult due to the similarities of the pred...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods In regions with strongly seasonal climate, plant phenological strategies are highly constrained by abiotic factors. In contrast, plants growing in continually wet, tropical forests are freed from most abiotic constraints, and phenological patterns should be subject to selection from mutualists (pollinators and seed dis...
Article
Full-text available
Migration is among the best studied of animal behaviors, yet few empirical studies have tested hypotheses explaining the ultimate causes of these cyclical annual movements. Fretwell's (1980) hypothesis predicts that if nest predation explains why many tropical birds migrate uphill to breed, then predation risk must be negatively associated with ele...
Article
Full-text available
Tree cavities are a critical resource for many animals, especially as nesting sites for birds. Patterns of cavity distribution in temperate forests are well studied, yet little is known of cavities in tropical forests, despite a hypothesized decrease in cavity availability with decreasing latitude. We studied cavity density and distribution in a we...
Article
Full-text available
The question of why birds migrate is still poorly understood despite decades of debate. Previous studies have suggested that use of edge habitats and a frugivorous diet are precursors to the evolution of migration in Neotropical birds. However, these studies did not explore other ecological correlates of migration and did not control for phylogeny...
Article
Full-text available
The question of why birds migrate is still poorly understood despite decades of debate. Previous studies have suggested that use of edge habitats and a frugivorous diet are precursors to the evolution of migration in Neotropical birds. However, these studies did not explore other ecological correlates of migration and did not control for phylogeny...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Determine the factors regulating populations of declining, tallgrass prairie birds
Project
We aim to determine the relative influence of biotic drivers in shaping the behavior, ecology, and evolution of Neotropical birds, focusing especially on manakins and the role of precipitation regimes.