Sara A. Kaiser

Sara A. Kaiser
Cornell University | CU · Lab of Ornithology - Center for Biodiversity Sciences and Higher Education

PhD

About

30
Publications
5,138
Reads
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342
Citations
Introduction
My field-based research program focuses on an integrative understanding of how the environment shapes the evolution of complex social behavior, especially reproductive strategies. I am particularly interested in the role of social behavior in population and evolutionary dynamics involving sexual selection, population differentiation, and adaptation to environmental change.
Additional affiliations
October 2014 - July 2019
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Position
  • PostDoc Position
September 2013 - September 2014
Cornell University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
August 2008 - August 2013
Cornell University
Field of study
  • Behavioral Ecology
August 2001 - May 2004
Michigan State University
Field of study
  • Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Behavior
August 1997 - May 2001
Iowa State University
Field of study
  • Zoology & Genetics

Publications

Publications (30)
Article
In socially monogamous species, male reproductive success consists of ‘within‐pair’ offspring produced with their socially‐paired mate(s), and ‘extra‐pair’ offspring produced with additional females throughout the population. Both reproductive pathways offer distinct opportunities for selection in wild populations, as each is composed of separate c...
Article
Extrapair paternity should contribute to sexual selection by increasing the number of potential mates available to each individual. Potential copulation partners are, however, limited by their proximity. Spatial constraints may therefore reduce the impact of extrapair paternity on sexual selection. We tested the effect of spatial constraints on sex...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual selection studies widely estimate several metrics, but values may be inaccurate because standard field methods for studying wild populations produce limited data (e.g., incomplete sampling, inability to observe copulations directly). We compared four selection metrics (Bateman gradient, opportunity for sexual selection, opportunity for selec...
Article
Full-text available
The Indian subcontinent is the primary wintering ground and stopover site for migratory shorebirds to refuel along the Central Asian and South Asian Flyways. Despite the conservation importance of this region for migratory shorebirds, we lack information on the distribution and abundance of over-summering shorebirds—migrants that remain on their wi...
Preprint
Full-text available
In pair-bonding species, male reproductive success consists of "within-pair" offspring produced with their socially-paired mate(s), and "extra-pair" offspring produced with additional females throughout the population. Both reproductive pathways offer distinct opportunities for sexual selection to operate in wild populations, as each are composed o...
Article
Full-text available
In cooperatively breeding animals, genetic relatedness among group members often determines the extent of reproductive sharing, cooperation and competition within a group. Studies of species for which cooperative behaviour is not entirely based on kinship are key for understanding the benefits favouring the evolution and maintenance of cooperative...
Article
Full-text available
Thermal variation poses a problem for nesting birds and can result in reduced offspring growth rates and survival. To increase the thermal stability of the nest, females can adjust nest characteristics and nest attendance in response to changes in environmental conditions. However, it is unclear how and to what extent females modify parental behavi...
Article
Full-text available
Molecular studies have revealed that social groups composed mainly of nonrelatives may be widespread in group-living vertebrates, but the benefits favoring such sociality are not well understood. In the Old World, birds often form conspecific foraging groups that are maintained year-round and offspring usually disperse to other social groups. We te...
Article
Full-text available
Our understanding of trait evolution is built upon studies that examine the correlation between traits and fitness, most of which implicitly assume all individuals experience similar selective environments. However, accounting for differences in selective pressures, such as variation in the social environment, can advance our understanding of how s...
Article
Full-text available
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are preferred over microsatellite markers in many evolutionary studies, but have only recently been applied to studies of parentage. Evaluations of SNPs and microsatellites for assigning parentage have mostly focused on special cases that require a relatively large number of heterozygous loci, such as species...
Article
Many studies of sexual selection assume that individuals have equal mating opportunities and that differences in mating success result from variation in sexual traits. However, the inability of sexual traits to explain variation in male mating success suggests that other factors moderate the strength of sexual selection. Extrapair paternity is comm...
Article
Because elevated glucocorticoid levels can impair reproduction, populations or species that engage in particularly valuable reproductive attempts may down-regulate the glucocorticoid stress response during reproduction (the brood value hypothesis). It is not clear, however, whether individuals rapidly modulate glucocorticoid responses based on shif...
Data
Data for Model 1: Testing the effects of ecological and social factors on the probability of siring extra-pair young Data for Model 2: Testing the effect of food availability on breeding distance R code
Data
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are preferred over microsatellite markers in many evolutionary studies, but have only recently been applied to studies of parentage. Evaluations of SNPs and microsatellites for assigning parentage have mostly focused on special cases that require a relatively large number of heterozygous loci, such as species...
Article
Full-text available
Although the highest diversity of birds occurs in tropical regions, little is known about the genetic mating systems of most tropical species. We describe microsatellite markers isolated in the chestnut-crested yuhina (Staphida everetti), endemic to the island of Borneo, and the grey-throated babbler (Stachyris nigriceps), widely distributed across...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental factors can shape reproductive investment strategies and influence the variance in male mating success. Environmental effects on extrapair paternity have traditionally been ascribed to aspects of the social environment, such as breeding density and synchrony. However, social factors are often confounded with habitat quality and are ch...
Article
Full-text available
An emerging question in animal behaviour is whether and how behavioural plasticity will enable organisms to adjust to human-induced, rapid environmental changes that affect breeding conditions. Adaptive behavioural plasticity in response to changing resource conditions will depend on the sensitivity of the neuroendocrine system to food stimuli and...
Thesis
Behavioral plasticity may allow organisms to respond adaptively to environmental constraints that limit investment in competing reproductive behaviors. For example, food limitation should reduce foraging success and cause males to reallocate effort among the competing demands of parental care, mate guarding, and extra-pair mating. Using both ecolog...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous studies have correlated the advancement of lay date in birds with warming climate trends, yet the fitness effects associated with this phenological response have been examined in only a small number of species. Most of these species-primarily insectivorous cavity nesters in Europe-exhibit fitness declines associated with increasing asynchr...
Article
Full-text available
Threats to a species' persistence are likely to change as conservation measures reduce some threats, while natural and anthropogenic changes increase others. Despite a variety of potential underlying mechanisms, extinction threats will be manifested through one of the 3 components of population dynamics: reducing population growth potential, increa...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical birds may differ from temperate birds in their sensitivity to forest edges. We provide predictions about the proportions of tropical and temperate species that should avoid or exploit edges, and relationships between natural-history characters and edge responses. We conducted exploratory meta-analyses from 11 studies using 287 records of 2...
Article
Full-text available
Many studies investigating edge effects on forest-nesting birds have focused on nest success. Fewer have examined edge effects on other components of fitness. Nestling growth rates have been positively correlated with food availability, which may differ at edges compared to the forest interior. However, previous work has not examined growth as a fu...
Article
Full-text available
Relatively small areas of critical habitat in island ecosystems can be essential to the survival and persistence of endemic threatened and endangered species. The San Clemente sage sparrow (Amphispiza belli clementeae) is a federally threatened, non-migratory subspecies endemic to San Clemente Island. During the breeding season, the population is l...
Article
Many studies investigating edge effects on forest-nesting birds have focused on nest success. Fewer have examined edge effects on other components of fitness. Nestling growth rates have been positively correlated with food availability, which may differ at edges compared to the forest interior. However, previous work has not examined growth as a fu...
Article
Full-text available
Predicting the consequences of land-cover change on tropical biotas is a pressing task. However, testing the applicability of models developed with data from one region to another region has rarely been done. Bird faunas were sampled along 3.0-km routes in southern Costa Rica (Coto Brus) to develop statistical models to describe the abundance and r...
Thesis
Nestling growth rates have been used as indicators of habitat degradation because growth rates have been positively correlated with food. However, no previous work has examined growth rates in the context of forest fragmentation. I investigated whether distance to forest edge influenced growth rates of wings, tarsi, and mass of nestling Wood Thrush...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
Aims of the studies are (1)Population trends of migrant shorebirds in the different sites, (2) Departure delay of most common shorebirds species, (3) Evaluation of biotic and abiotic factor that influence the habitat use of shorebirds (4) Foraging Behaviour of selected migrant Shorebirds and (5) accumulation of heavy metal ranges in the most common species and (6) Conservational issues of the study areas.