A genetic basis of individual variation in parental care in wild birds

Grants and Contracts Details


This project seeks to understand how and why individuals within a population vary in the level of parental care they provide to their offspring, and how this variation affects offspring performance. I propose that individual genetic diversity, which has been linked with many measures of fitness in a variety of organisms, may explain why parents provide different levels of care. Using the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) as a model organism, I will test this by employing a cross-fostering design in which I will be able to separate the genetic, maternal, and environmental effects on offspring performance. Specifically, I will quanti~' the level of parental care provided by parents as measured by their rate of nestling provisioning, estimate the genetic diversity of parents using DNA microsatellites, and assess offspring performance using nestling growth rates and survival. The fmdings of this study will potentially provide a genetic explanation for individual variation in parental care, and quantify the impacts of this variation on offspring fitness.
Effective start/end date5/28/094/30/10


  • American Ornithologists Union: $2,125.00


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