Mark E Hauber

Mark E Hauber
City University of New York - Hunter College | Hunter CUNY · Department of Psychology

PhD, DSc

About

426
Publications
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Publications

Publications (426)
Article
Full-text available
The relationships between avian brood parasites and their hosts are widely recognised as model systems for studying coevolution. However, while most brood parasites are known to parasitise multiple species of host and hosts are often subject to parasitism by multiple brood parasite species, the examination of multispecies interactions remains rare....
Preprint
One of the most effective defenses of avian hosts against obligate brood parasites is the ejection of parasitic eggs from the nests. Despite the clear fitness benefits of this behavior, individuals within so-called “egg rejecter” host species still show substantial variation in their propensity to eliminate foreign eggs from the nest. We argue that...
Article
Social media platforms, such as Twitter, provide the opportunity for academics to network and to disseminate research to colleagues and the general public. More recently, Twitter in particular has become a platform for hosting academic conferences in addition to or as an alternative to either traditional in-person academic conferences or virtual co...
Article
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Transitions between life history stages are fitness-limiting events that depend on environmental and individual characteristics. For altricial birds, fledging from the nest is a critical shift in development with direct impacts on survival, yet it remains one of the most understudied components of avian ontogeny. Even less is known about how brood...
Article
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Avian brood parasitism is reproductively costly for hosts and selects for cognitive features enabling anti-parasitic resistance at multiple stages of the host's breeding cycle. The true thrushes (genus Turdus) represent a nearly worldwide clade of potential hosts of brood parasitism by Cuculus cuckoos in Eurasia and Africa and Molothrus cowbirds in...
Article
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Personality, or repeatable variation in behavior, may impact an animal's survival or reproduction. Parental aggression is one such personality trait with potentially direct implications for fitness, as it can improve offspring survival during vulnerable early life stages. We took advantage of a long‐term nest box and fledgling survival monitoring p...
Article
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The antagonistic arms races between obligate brood parasites and their hosts provide critical insights into coevolutionary processes and constraints on the evolution of life history strategies. In avian brood parasites—a model system for examining host–parasite dynamics—research has primarily focused on the egg and nestling stage, while far less is...
Article
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Communication between parents and dependent offspring is critical not only during provisioning, but also in antipredator contexts. In altricial birds, a top cause of reproductive failure is nest predation, and alarm calls both by parents and chicks can serve to alert others and increase the likelihood of offspring escaping predation. Understanding...
Article
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To curb fitness costs associated with obligate avian brood parasitism, some hosts have evolved to reject foreign eggs in the nest. American robins (Turdus migratorius) are among the few hosts of the brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) that mostly remove parasitic eggs from their nests. With the parasite’s eggs looking nothing like their own, Amer...
Article
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Despite posing a serious threat to global biodiversity, national and international management efforts have not been able to limit the spread of most invasive species. In highly dispersive species, local invasions may be followed by regional range expansion that crosses international borders. In such cases, independent management efforts of the inva...
Article
Full-text available
Obligate brood parasitic birds lay their eggs in the nests of other species, reducing the host’s own reproductive output. To circumvent these fitness costs, many—but not all—host species have evolved the ability to recognize and reject brood parasitic eggs. What factors constrain egg rejection, and why do host species vary in their likelihood of re...
Data
Hauber, M.E., Riehl, C. & Nagy, J. (2022) Clutch size and the rejection of parasitic eggs: a comparative test of the maternal investment hypothesis. Evolutionary Ecology // Content: AIC tables and model detail // Raw data available at Figshare https://figshare.com/s/e2fa76fa80382edb5d67
Article
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Brain plasticity is widespread in nature, as it enables adaptive responses to sensory demands associated with novel stimuli, environmental changes and social conditions. Social Hymenoptera are particularly well-suited to study neuroplasticity, because the division of labor amongst females and the different life histories of males and females are as...
Article
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When acoustic communication signals are distorted, receivers may misunderstand the signal, rendering it ineffective. Common cuckoos (Cuculus canorus) are popularly known for the males' simple, two-note advertisement calls, the "cu-coo" used for declaring the male's breeding territories. Cuckoos do not learn their calls (vocal non-learners), so they...
Article
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Animals with dependent and vulnerable young need to decide where to raise their offspring to minimize ill effects of weather, competition, parasitism, and predation. These decisions have critical fitness consequences through impacting the survival of both adults and progeny. Birds routinely place their nest in specific sites, allowing species to be...
Article
For many birds, nest construction is a costly aspect of parental care, trading finite energetic resources between parental care and self-maintenance. For multi-brooded organisms with short breeding seasons, such as migratory passerines, repeated nest construction could be especially costly if the activity delays the onset of breeding attempts. Earl...
Article
Obligate insect social parasites evolve traits to effectively locate and then exploit their hosts, whereas hosts have complex social behavioral repertoires, which include sensory recognition to reject potential conspecific intruders and heterospecific parasites. While social parasites and host behaviors have been studied extensively, less is known...
Article
Obligate insect social parasites evolve traits to effectively locate and then exploit their hosts, whereas hosts have complex social behavioral repertoires, which include sensory recognition to reject potential conspecific intruders and heterospecific parasites. While social parasite and host behaviors have been studied extensively, less is known a...
Preprint
Phenotypic plasticity is the capacity of a single genotype to exhibit different phenotypes, and can be an adaptive response to specific environmental and social conditions. Social insects are particularly well-suited to study plasticity, because the division of labor amongst females and the different life histories of males and females are associat...
Article
Full-text available
Movement of the embryo is essential for musculoskeletal development in vertebrates, yet little is known about whether, and why, species vary. Avian brood parasites exhibit feats of strength in early life as adaptations to exploit the hosts that rear them. We hypothesized that an increase in embryonic movement could allow brood parasites to develop...
Article
Understanding when learning begins is critical for identifying the factors that shape both the developmental course and the function of information acquisition. Until recently, sufficient development of the neural substrates for any sort of vocal learning to begin in songbirds was thought to be reached well after hatching. New research shows that e...
Preprint
Full-text available
Animals with dependent and vulnerable young need to decide where to raise their offspring to minimize ill effects of weather, competition, parasitism, and predation. These decisions have critical fitness consequences through impacting the survival of both adults and juveniles. Birds routinely place their nest in specific sites, allowing species to...
Article
Collective decision-making is a widespread phenomenon across organisms. Studying how animal societies make group decisions to the mutual benefit of group members, while avoiding exploitation by cheaters, can provide unique insights into the underlying cognitive mechanisms. As a step toward dissecting the proximate mechanisms that underpin collectiv...
Article
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Referential alarm calls that denote specific types of dangers are common across diverse vertebrate lineages. Different alarm calls can indicate a variety of threats, which often require specific actions to evade. Thus, to benefit from the call, listeners of referential alarm calls must be able to decode the signaled threat and respond to it in an a...
Article
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Evolved eggshell strength is greater in several lineages of obligate avian brood parasites (birds that lay their eggs in other species' nests) than in their hosts. Greater strength is typically indirectly implied by eggshell thickness comparisons between parasites and hosts. Nevertheless, there is strong evidence that the eggshell structural organi...
Article
Yellow warblers ( Setophaga petechia ) use referential ‘seet’ calls to warn mates of brood parasitic brown-headed cowbirds ( Molothrus ater ). In response to seet calls during the day, female warblers swiftly move to sit tightly on their nests, which may prevent parasitism by physically blocking female cowbirds from inspecting and laying in the nes...
Article
Fuelled by the ongoing genomic revolution, broadscale RNA expression surveys are fast replacing studies targeting one or a few genes to understand the molecular basis of behaviour. Yet, the timescale of RNA-sequencing experiments and the dynamics of neural gene activation are insufficient to drive real-time switches between behavioural states. More...
Article
In coevolutionary arms-races, reciprocal ecological interactions and their fitness impacts shape the course of phenotypic evolution. The classic example of avian host–brood parasite interactions selects for host recognition and rejection of increasingly mimetic foreign eggs. An essential component of perceptual mimicry is that parasitic eggs escape...
Article
The avian eggshell is a bio-ceramic structure that protects the embryo. It is composed almost entirely of calcium carbonate and a small amount of organic material. An optimal amount of calcium carbonate in the eggshell is essential for the embryo's development, yet how the ratio of calcium carbonate to organic matter varies between species has not...
Article
Full-text available
The capability of hosts to reject the odd egg from their nest is one of the key defenses against avian brood parasitism. Considerable research effort has been devoted to exploring which phenotypic traits of eggshells facilitate to cue the recognition of the parasitic egg. Here we have reviewed studies addressing salient egg traits involved in the r...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ecological conditions limiting the time to find a compatible mate or increasing the difficulty in doing so likely promote the evolution of traits used for species and mate recognition. Here, we tested this recognition hypothesis for promoting plumage sexual dichromatism in the true thrushes (Turdus), a large and diverse genus of passerine birds. We...
Article
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Duetting is a coordinated form of acoustic communication with participants uttering calls or songs simultaneously and/or sequentially. Duetting is often observed in pair-bonded species, with mated females and males both contributing to the communal vocal output. We observed duetting between the sexes in the common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), an oblig...
Article
Species recognition is an essential behavioral outcome of social discrimination, flocking, mobbing, mating, and/or parental care. In songbirds, auditory species recognition cues are processed through specialized forebrain circuits dedicated to acoustic discrimination. Here we addressed the direction of behavioral and neural metrics of Zebra Finches...
Article
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The brood parasitic Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus is best known for its two-note "cu-coo" call which is almost continuously uttered by male during the breeding season and can be heard across long distances in the field. Although the informative value of the cuckoo call was intensively investigated recently, it is still not clear whether call charac...
Article
Full-text available
Avian species across diverse lineages collect and incorporate mammalian hair into their nests (Tóth 2008). This widespread behavior can be adaptive, as hair, fur or wool insulates nests and so enhances nestling survival and recruitment in colder climates (Hilton et al. 2004, Mainwaring et al. 2014, Järvinen and Brommer 2020, Deeming et al. 2020; re...
Article
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The zebra finch ( Taeniopygia guttata ) is a socially monogamous and colonial opportunistic breeder with pronounced sexual differences in singing and plumage coloration. Its natural history has led to it becoming a model species for research into sex differences in vocal communication, as well as behavioral, neural and genomic theories of imitative...
Article
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Invasive species present an opportunity to test the association between selective forces and adaptive morphological traits because these species can experience rapid changes when introduced to new environments. One such invader is the common myna (Acridotheres tristis), a broadly ranging avian species that has been introduced on most continents and...
Article
Many avian species are considered agricultural pests and cause severe and costly damage to crops worldwide. Crop producers use several methods to reduce damage by birds, with frightening devices serving among the most popular approaches. Biologically salient frightening devices, such as broadcast of conspecific alarm calls or placing predator model...
Article
Full-text available
Obligate avian brood parasites depend on hosts for parental care, which in turn suffer fitness losses as a result of parasitism. Mechanisms by which brood parasitic cowbirds (Molothrus spp.) reduce host breeding success include the puncture (M. rufoaxillaris and M. bonariensis) or removal (M. ater) of the eggs of the host. Our working hypothesis is...
Article
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This research investigates the extent and causal mechanisms of genetic population divergence in a poorly flighted passerine, the North Island Rifleman or Titipounamu (Acanthisitta chloris granti). While this species has a historically widespread distribution, anthropogenic forest clearance has resulted in a highly fragmented current distribution. W...
Article
Assortative social interactions based on (sub)species recognition can be a driving force in speciation processes. To determine whether breeding Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica transitiva in Israel behave differentially towards members of their own subspecies, relative to a different, transient subspecies H. r. rustica and two sympatrically breeding s...
Article
Early exposure to salient cues can critically shape the development of social behaviors. For example, both oscine birds and humans can hear and learn to recognize familiar sounds in ovo and in utero and recognize them following hatching and birth, respectively. Here we demonstrate that different chronic acoustic playbacks alter genome-wide methylat...
Chapter
Many animals have evolved fine-tuned enemy recognition (the ability to discriminate between threat types) and respond to threats based on their particular impact on survival and/or fitness. Birds represent an important and tractable behavioral study system to explore hypotheses of enemy recognition in detail: in addition to predation risk to adult...
Article
Full-text available
Avian obligate brood parasites lay their eggs in the nests of other species that may provide care for the foreign offspring. Brood parasitism often imparts substantial fitness losses upon host nestlings when they are raised alongside the typically more competitive, larger, and older parasitic chick(s). Whereas fitness costs due to reduced host offs...
Article
Brood parasitism is the introduction of unrelated progeny into the nest or colony of a host that then raises the foreign young. This reproductive strategy has evolved independently and repeatedly among diverse animal taxa, and brood parasite–host interactions have become models for understanding coevolutionary arms races. Yet brood parasites have r...
Article
When individuals groom or preen one another (allopreening), vulnerability and physical access allow for information about hierarchy and bonds to be exchanged, in addition to basic health benefits. During these interactions, individuals may also self-direct grooming/preening (autopreening). We investigate autopreening in a cooperatively breeding pas...
Article
Defending offspring incurs temporal and energetic costs and can be dangerous for the parents. Accordingly, the intensity of this costly behavior should reflect the perceived risk to the reproductive output. When facing costly brood parasitism by brown‐headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater), where cowbirds lay eggs in heterospecific nests and cause the ho...
Article
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In dense breeding colonies, and despite having no nest structure, common murres (or guillemots: Uria aalge) are still able to identify their own eggs. Each female murre's egg is thought to be recognized individually by the shell's avian‐perceivable traits. This is because the eggshells’ visible traits conform to expectations of the identity‐signali...
Article
Full-text available
Avian obligate brood parasitism, a reproductive strategy where a parasite lays its egg into the nest of another species, imposes significant fitness costs upon host parents and their offspring. To combat brood parasitism, many host species recognize and reject foreign eggs (rejecters), but some are accepters that raise the parasitic progeny. Some a...
Article
For most of its history, immunology has sought to control environmental variation to establish genetic causality. As with all biological traits though, variation among individuals arises by three broad pathways: genetic (G), environmental (E), and the interactive between the two (GxE); and immunity is no different. Here, we review the value of appl...
Article
Full-text available
Some hosts of avian brood parasites reduce or eliminate the costs of parasitism by removing foreign eggs from the nest (rejecter hosts). In turn, even acceptor hosts typically remove most non-egg-shaped objects from the nest, including broken shells, fallen leaves and other detritus. In search for the evolutionary origins and sensory mechanisms of...
Article
Ongoing global change has had biologically impactful effects on the breeding phenology of both resident and migratory bird species, including avian hosts and their obligate brood parasites. We analyzed a local breeding site’s weather changes in Central Hungary and shifts in the reproductive timing of two interacting long-distance migratory bird spe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Obligate social parasites evolve traits to effectively locate and then exploit their hosts, whereas hosts have complex social behavioral repertoires, which include sensory recognition to reject potential conspecific intruders and heterospecific parasites. While social parasite and host behaviors have been studied extensively, less is known about ho...
Article
Generalist obligate brood parasites are excellent models for studies of developmental plasticity, as they experience a range of social and environmental variation when raised by one of their many hosts. Parasitic Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater (Boddaert, 1783)) exhibit host-specific growth rates, yet cowbird growth rates are not predicted by...
Article
To avoid mobbing attacks by their hosts during egg laying, some avian brood parasites have evolved traits to visually and/or acoustically resemble predator(s) of their hosts. Prior work established that reed warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus), a small host species of the brood parasitic common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), delayed returning to the nest...
Article
Full-text available
The obligate brood parasitic common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) is best known for its two-note “cu-coo” call, which is uttered repeatedly by adult males during the breeding season. This call advertises the male’s claim for his territory. A rare, aberrant version (“cu-kee”) was discovered in a population of cuckoos in central Hungary. In a playback exp...
Article
Full-text available
Parasites often manipulate host behaviors to achieve their own selfish fitness goals. However, the efficiency with which parasitic begging calls solicit foster parental care has not yet been compared across different avian obligate host-brood parasite systems. For example, the begging calls of nestmate-evictor parasites are predicted to solicit suf...
Chapter
Brood parasites, also known as social parasites, deposit their progeny in the nests or hives of other species (hosts), absolving themselves from raising their own offspring. Hosts often accept and raise the parasitic offspring despite the reproductive costs associated with parasitism. However, some hosts have evolved defense behaviors to curb these...
Article
Full-text available
Brown‐headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) are generalist obligate brood parasites, laying in the nest of nearly 300 avian species, and successfully parasitizing well over 100 host species. Cowbird eggs are generally considered non‐mimetic, although some have suggested that cowbird eggs resemble several of their host species’ eggs. To date, no investig...
Article
Avian obligate brood parasitism is a specialised life history strategy that may impact the dispersal of juvenile and adult parasites when compared with non-parasitic (parental) bird species. In contrast to expectations, however, several brood parasites show a territorial spacing system while breeding, including breeding site fidelity within and acr...
Article
Color and spatial vision are critical for recognition and discrimination tasks affecting fitness, including finding food and mates and recognizing offspring. For example, as a counter defense to avoid the cost of raising the unrelated offspring of obligate interspecific avian brood parasites, many host species routinely view, recognize, and remove...
Article
Full-text available
Adaptive responses to ecological uncertainty may affect the dynamics of interspecific interactions and shape the course of evolution within symbioses. Obligate avian brood parasites provide a particularly tractable system for understanding how uncertainty, driven by environmental variability and symbiont phenology, influences the evolution of speci...
Article
Animals, including humans, must make sense of information, bombarding them from the enviroment, quickly and effectively. Categorical perception is one such process, and the evidence for it is increasing. We argue that the next step in the research of category-based decision making should be to study wild animals in the field and in behavioral conte...
Article
en Many hosts of obligate brood‐parasitic birds use variation in the coloration and pattern of eggshells to identify and reject foreign eggs from their nests. However, egg‐rejection behavior of several hosts is not tightly predicted by the modeled output of overall avian‐perceivable chromatic differences between foreign and host eggs. This demands...
Article
Full-text available
How do organisms balance different types of recognition errors when cues associated with desirable and undesirable individuals or resources overlap? This is a fundamental question of signal detection theory (SDT). As applied in sociobiology, SDT is not limited to a single context or animal taxon, therefore its application can span what may be consi...
Article
Raising an obligate avian brood parasite is costly for host parents because it redirects valuable parental resources from one's own offspring to genetically unrelated young. The costs of raising a brood parasite may be mediated by physiological stressors for foster parents if it requires greater or biased parental effort compared to raising non-par...
Article
Full-text available
Female-only colour polymorphism is rare in birds, but occurs in brood parasitic cuckoos (Cuculidae). Obligate brood parasites leave incubation and parental care to other species (hosts), so female-female interactions can play a role in how parasites guard critical resources (host nests) within their laying areas. The plumage of adult female common...
Article
Parasite-host coevolution can lead to novel behavioural adaptations in hosts to resist parasitism. In avian obligate brood parasite and host systems, many host species have evolved diverse cognitive and behavioural traits to recognize and reject parasitic eggs. Our understanding of the evolution and ecology of these defences hinges on identifying t...