bruce lyon

Bruce Lyon - Professor

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

Lyon Lab Website

Behavioral Ecology; Evolutionary Ecology

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:

  • the adaptive basis of conspecific brood parasitism and parental tactics in waterbirds, particularly several species of coots (Fulica) breeding in North and South America,
  • the ecology and evolution of obligate brood parasitism in the black-headed duck of Argentina,
  • social signals and mating systems in lazuli and lark buntings in western North America, and
  • song and plumage signals in wintering golden-crowned sparrows in the UCSC arboretum.
Earth & Marine Sciences A308
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Phone: 831.459.3949
Fax: 831.459.5353

Selected Publications

Lyon, B.E. and Eadie J.McA. 2008. Conspecific brood parasitism in birds: a life history perspective. Annual Reviews of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 39: 343-63.

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.

Lyon, B.E. 2007. Mechanism of conspecific egg recognition in defenses against brood conspecific brood parasitism: American coots (Fulica americana) know their own eggs. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 61: 455-463.

Wasson, K.R. and Lyon, B.E. 2005. Flight or fight: flexible anti-predatory strategies in porcelain crabs. Behavioral Ecology 16: 1037-1041.

Lyon, B.E. and Eadie, J. McA. 2004. An obligate brood parasite trapped in the intraspecific arms race of its hosts. Nature 432:390-393.

Lyon, B.E. 2003. Egg recognition and counting reduce costs of avian conspecific brood parasitism. Nature 422: 495-499.

Lyon, B.E. 2003. Ecological and social constraints on conspecific brood parasitism by nesting female American coots (Fulica americana). Journal of Animal Ecology 72: 47-60.

Lyon, B.E., Hochachka, W.M. and Eadie, J.McA. 2002. Paternity-parasitism trade-offs: a model and test of host-parasite cooperation in an avian conspecific brood parasite. Evolution 56: 1253-1266.

Wasson, K, Lyon B.E. and Knope, M. 2002. An antipredatory benefit to hair-trigger autotomy in porcelain crabs. Behavioral Ecology 13: 481-486.

Lyon, B.E. and Eadie, J.McA. 2000. Family matters: Kin selection and the evolution of conspecific brood parasitism. P.N.A.S. 97: 12942-12944.

Greene, E.P., Lyon, B.E., Meuhter,V.R., Ratcliff. L., Boag, P.T. and Oliver, S.J. 2000. Disruptive sexual selection for plumage coloration in a monogamous passerine bird. Nature 407:1000-1003.

Lyon, B.E. 1998. Optimal clutch size and conspecific brood parasitism. Nature 392: 380-383.

Lyon, B.E., Eadie, J.M., and Hamilton, L.D. 1994. Parental preference selects for ornamental plumage in American coot chicks. Nature 371: 240-243.