Gavin M. Leighton

Gavin M. Leighton
State University of New York College at Buffalo | Buffalo State · Department of Biology

B.A., Ph.D.

About

32
Publications
5,659
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239
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2007 - April 2009
Colgate University
Position
  • Student

Publications

Publications (32)
Article
Full-text available
Changes in signaling repertoires across species allow for insight into the macroevolutionary forces that control signaling systems. Signaling systems are theorized to be affected by both the social and ecological environments of species. With respect to social variables , increased social complexity is thought to lead to increased vocal complexity....
Article
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Hybridization represents a natural experiment that can provide insight into processes of speciation and diversification. Though considerable research has focused on hybrid zone dynamics, macroevolutionary investigations of the factors that influence hybridization are few. Here, we compile a database of avian hybrids and perform comparative analyses...
Article
Animals produce a wide array of sounds with highly variable acoustic structures. It is possible to understand the causes and consequences of this variation across taxa with phylogenetic comparative analyses. Acoustic and evolutionary analyses are rapidly increasing in sophistication such that choosing appropriate acoustic and evolutionary approache...
Article
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Organismal appearances are shaped by selection from both biotic and abiotic drivers. For example, Gloger’s rule describes the pervasive pattern that more pigmented populations are found in more humid areas. However, species may also converge on nearly identical colours and patterns in sympatry, often to avoid predation by mimicking noxious species....
Article
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Animals in social aggregations use signals of quality or motivation to attract mates and intimidate rivals. Theory indicates that honesty can be maintained in these signals if the costs of signalling affect low-quality individuals more than they affect high-quality individuals. Considerable research has focused on identifying the nature of those co...
Preprint
Full-text available
Organismal appearances are shaped by selection from both abiotic and biotic drivers. For example, Gloger's rule describes the pervasive pattern that more pigmented populations are found in more humid areas, and substrate matching as a form of camouflage to reduce predation is widespread across the tree of life. Sexual selection is a potent driver o...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the emergence and persistence of convergent phenotypes is the subject of considerable debate. Species may converge on nearly identical phenotypes for a variety of reasons, including occupying similar environments, exhibiting similar foraging ecologies, and for signalling reasons such as mimicry. Interspecific social dominance mimicry...
Article
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Although communicative complexity is often predicted to correlate with social complexity in animal societies, few studies have employed large-scale comparative analyses to test whether socially complex species have more complex systems of communication. I tested this social complexity hypothesis in birds (Class: Aves) using the large amount of natu...
Article
Full-text available
The major evolutionary transitions often result in reorganization of biological systems, and a component of such reorganization is that individuals within the system specialize on performing certain tasks, resulting in a division of labor. Although the traditional benefit of division of labor is thought to be a gain in work efficiency, one alternat...
Article
Full-text available
The major transitions in evolution rely on the formation of stable groups that are composed of previously independent units, and the stability of these groups requires both cooperation and reduced conflict. Conflict over group resources may be common, as suggested by work in both cichlids and humans that has investigated how societies resolve confl...
Article
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Most birds construct nests where they raise dependent young, and in some instances species will use a nest as a protective roost for part or all of the year. Given the direct connection between nests and fitness it is likely that nest-building behaviour is responsive to selection. Traditionally, nest-building behaviour was thought to be solely infl...
Article
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The evolution of sociality often leads to genetic structuring among groups and alters the evolutionary forces that the groups experience. Describing the genetic structuring of social species is, therefore, necessary to understand the selective forces that act on a species. While recent work has used genomic methods to investigate population structu...
Article
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Although communal goods are often critical to society, they are simultaneously susceptible to exploitation and are evolutionarily stable only if mechanisms exist to curtail exploitation. Mechanisms such as punishment and kin selection have been offered as general explanations for how communal resources can be maintained. Evidence for these mechanis...
Article
Full-text available
Foraging habits of animals are a critical component of their ecology; however, estimates of feeding that rely solely on observation may not detect all of the factors that affect foraging decisions. Importantly, few studies have examined the influence of sociality on dietary regimes in avian species. The stable isotope ratios of carbon (δ13C) and ni...
Article
Full-text available
Communal nests often provide benefits, such as protection from predators and refuge from extreme temperatures, to the inhabitants of the nest. The benefits returned to individuals performing nest construction may not scale linearly with the amount of nest construction performed. If the returns on nest construction are non-linear, then recent theore...
Article
Full-text available
Cooperative behaviors are both prevalent and perplexing because selfish behaviors often return higher immediate fitness benefits. Additionally, cooperative behaviors are a prominent component of the human behavioral repertoire and therefore represent a useful teaching tool. To use cooperation as a teaching tool, I present software where students pa...
Article
Full-text available
Complex animal societies often rely on communal resources from which all individuals in the group derive benefits. Selection should favor individuals that diminish their contribution towards these communal resources, and to increase their consumption of the resource, thus compromising the stability of these "public goods". To begin to understand ho...
Article
Full-text available
Multiple evolutionary phenomena require individual animals to assess conspecifics based on behaviors, morphology, or both. Both behavior and morphology can provide information about individuals and are often used as signals to convey information about quality, motivation, or energetic output. In certain cases, conspecific receivers of this informat...
Article
Full-text available
Scientists are beginning to have a firm grasp on the dramatic influence invasive earthworms can have on nutrient cycling in northern hardwood forests, yet a concrete understanding of their effects on plant communities is still needed. Towards this effort, we examined both the above and belowground plant communities, along with soil organic matter,...

Projects

Project (1)