Bruce Lyon

DivisionPhysical & Biological Sciences
DepartmentPBSci-Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department
Web Site Lyon Lab
Lyon Publications
Office412a Earth & Marine Sci Bldg
Campus Mail StopCBB/EE Biology
Mail1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA
Bruce Lyon

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

  • Shizuka, D. & Lyon, B.E. 2010. Coots use hatch order to learn to recognize and reject conspecific brood parasitic chicks. Nature 463: 223-226.

  • 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.

  • Lyon, B.E., Chaine, A.S. & Winkler D.W. 2008. A matter of timing. Science 321: 1051-52.

  • 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. 2003. Egg recognition and counting reduce costs of avian conspecific brood parasitism. Nature 422: 495-499.