Department Directory







Department Chair: Rita Mehta Department Manager: Stephanie Zakarian
Graduate Program Coordinator: Judy Straub Department Assistant: Eva Chudnow
Undergraduate Program Coordinator/Lead Advisor: Rexton Lynn Undergraduate Advisor: Aubrie Tait
Biology Teaching Laboratory and Facilities Support Technician: Nicole Hack
Department Office: (831) 459-5358 Administrative Office: CBB, Room 207, 209
Bruce E Lyon
  • Pronouns ey, em, eir, eirs, emself
  • Title
    • Professor
  • Division Physical & Biological Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • CSC Coastal Biology Building, 276 Coastal Biology Building
  • Office Hours Friday 2:00- 3:00
  • Mail Stop CBB/EE Biology
  • Mailing Address
    • EEB, UCSC, 130 McAllister Way
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064

Summary of Expertise

Evolutionary Ecology, Behavioral Ecology, Ornithology

Research Interests

I seek to understand the ecological and evolutionary basis of reproductive strategies and social behavior in animals, particularly reproductive parasitism, parental care and mating systems. One focus is to understand patterns of cooperation and reproductive parasitism in birds and insects. Many putative cooperative social systems show striking similarities with apparently parasitic reproductive tactics, suggesting both evolutionary and behavioral links between cooperation and parasitism. I am interested in understanding these links and identifying the ecological and social factors that promote parasitic versus cooperative reproductive behaviors. Communication through social signals is an important aspect of social evolution, and a second research interest is to understand the evolutionary dynamics of these signals and, in particular, determine the degree to which social signals are cooperative versus deceptive.

Current research projects include (1) the adaptive basis of conspecific brood parasitism and parental tactics in waterbirds, particularly several species of coots (Fulica) breeding in North and South America, (2) the evolution of ornamented offspring through parental choice in the genus Fulica, (3) sexual selection, mating system and plumage evolution in lark buntings and lazuli buntings and (4) social organization and social signaling in wintering golden-crowned sparrows.

Biography, Education and Training

B.Sc., McGill University
M.Sc., Queen's University
Ph.D., Princeton University
Postdoctorates, University of Toronto; University of Calgary

Selected Publications

  1. Chaine, A.S., Block, T.A., Zhang, L., Shizuka D. & Lyon, B.E. 2018. Manipulating badges of status only fools strangers. Ecology Letters 21:1477-1485. 
  2. Lyon, B.E. & Montgomerie, R.D. 2012. Sexual selection is a form of social selection. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367:2266-2273. 
  3. Shizuka, D. & Lyon, B.E. 2010. Coots use hatch order to learn to recognize and reject conspecific brood parasitic chicks. Nature 463: 223-226
  4. Lyon, BE & Eadie J.McA. 2008. Conspecific brood parasitism in birds: a life history perspective. Annual Reviews of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 39: 343-363.
  5. Chaine A.S. & Lyon, B.E. 2008. Adaptive plasticity in female mate choice dampens sexual selection on male ornaments in the lark bunting. Science 319: 459-62.
  6. Lyon, B.E. 2003. Egg recognition and counting reduce costs of avian conspecific brood parasitism. Nature 422: 495-499.