Publications

This is a list of our publications arising from or related to our research in Zambia. For publications listed per study species or system, please see the Study systems pages; for a full list of each group member’s publications, please see our individual pages.

  • Dixit, T., Apostol, A., Chen, K. C., Fulford, A., Town, C. P., & Spottiswoode, C. N. (2022) Visual complexity of egg patterns predicts egg rejection according to Weber’s Law. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 289. 20220710. 
  • Cram, D.L., van der Wal, J.E.M., Uomini, N.T., Cantor, M., Afan, A.I., Attwood, M.C., Amphaeris, J., Balasani, F., Blair, C.J., Bronstein, J.L., Buanachique, I.O., Cuthill, R.R.T., Das, J., Daura-Jorge, F.G., Deb, A., Dixit, T., Dlamini, G.S., Dounias, E., Gedi, I.I., Gruber, M., Hoffman, L.S., Holzlehner, T., Isack, H.A., Laltaika, A.E., Lloyd-Jones, D.J., Lund, J., Machado, A.M.S., Mahadevan, L., Moreno, I.B., Nwaogu, C.J., Pereira, V.L., Pierotti, R., Rucunua, S.A., dos Santos, W.F., Serpa, N., Smith, B.D., Sridhar, H., Tolkova, I., Tun, T., Valle-Pereira, J.V.S., Wood, B.M., Wrangham, R.W. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2022) The ecology and evolution of human-wildlife cooperationPeople and Nature DOI: 10.1002/pan3.10369
  • van der Wal, J.E.M., Spottiswoode, C.N., Uomini, N.T., Cantor, M., Daura-Jorge, F.G., Afan, A.I., Attwood, M.C., Amphaeris, J., Balasani, F., Begg, C.M., Blair, C.J., Bronstein, J.L., Buanachique, I.O., Cuthill, R.R.T., Das, J., Deb, A., Dixit, T., Dlamini, G.S., Dounias, E., Gedi, I.I., Gruber, M., Hoffman, L.S., Holzlehner, T., Isack, H.A., Laltaika, A.E., Lloyd-Jones, D.J., Lund, J., Machado, A.M.S., Mahadevan, L., Moreno, I.B., Nwaogu, C.J., Pereira, V.L., Pierotti, R., Rucunua, S.A., dos Santos, W.F., Serpa, N., Smith, B.D., Tolkova, I., Tun, T., Valle-Pereira, J.V.S., Wood, B.M., Wrangham, R.W. & Cram, D.L. 2022 Safeguarding human-wildlife cooperationConservation Letters e12886
  • Spottiswoode, C.N., Tong, W., Jamie, G.A., Stryjewski, K.F., DaCosta, J., Kuras, E., Green, A., Hamama, S., Taylor, I.G., Moya, C. & Sorenson, M.D. (2022) Genetic architecture facilitates then constrains adaptation in a host-parasite coevolutionary arms raceProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 119: e2121752119.
  • McClelland, S.C., Reynolds, M., Cordall, M., Hauber, M.E., Goymann, W., McClean, L.A., Hamama, S., Lund, J., Dixit, T., Louder, M.I.M., Safari, I., Honza, M., Spottiswoode, C.N. & Portugal, S.J. (2021) Embryo movement is more frequent in avian brood parasites than birds with parental reproductive strategies. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 288: 20211137.
  • Dixit, T., Caves, E.M., Spottiswoode, C.N. & Horrocks, N.P.C. (2021) Why and how to apply Weber’s Law to coevolution and mimicry. Evolution 75: 1906-1919.
  • Caves, E.M., Dixit, T., Colebrook-Robjent, J.F.R., Hamusikili, L., Stevens, M., Thorogood, R. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2021) Hosts elevate either within-clutch consistency or between-clutch distinctiveness of egg phenotypes in defence against brood parasites. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 288: 20210326.
  • Jamie, G.A., Hamama, S., Moya, C., Kilner, R.M. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2021) The limits of host colonisation and speciation in a radiation of parasitic finches. Behavioral Ecology 32: 529-538.
  • Jamie, G.A., Van Belleghem, S., Hogan, B., Hamama, S., Moya, C., Troscianko, J., Stoddard, M.C., Kilner, R.M. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2020) Multimodal mimicry of hosts in a radiation of parasitic finches. Evolution 74: 2526-2538 Read a Digest piece on this research by Bosque et al.
  • Jamie, G.A.* & J. I. Meier.* (2020). The persistence of polymorphisms across species radiations. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 35: 795-808.
  • Jones, S.E.*, Jamie, G.A.*, Sumbane, M. & Jocque, M. (2020) The avifauna, conservation and biogeography of the Njesi Highlands in northern Mozambique, with a review of the country’s Afromontane birdlife. Ostrich 91: 45-56.
  • Sorensen, M.C., Dixit, T., Newton, J., Kardynal, K., Hobson, K., Bensch, S., Jenni-Eiereman, S. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2019) Migration distance does not predict blood parasitism in a Palearctic-African migratory bird. Ecology and Evolution 9: 8294-8304. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Bryan, K.M. & Jamie, G.A. (2019) Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus feeding two Greater Honeyguide Indicator indicator fledglings in Botswana. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 26: 101-102. Download PDF
  • Thorogood, R., Spottiswoode, C.N., Portugal, S.J. & Gloag, R. (2019) The coevolutionary biology of brood parasitism: a call for integration. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 374: 20180190. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • McClelland, S.C., Jamie, G.A., Waters, K., Caldas, L., Spottiswoode, C.N. & Portugal, S.J. (2019) Convergent evolution of reduced eggshell conductance in avian brood parasites. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B374: 20180194. 70. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Spottiswoode, C.N.* & Busch, R.* (2019) Vive la difference! Self/non-self recognition and the evolution of signature polymorphism in arms races with parasites. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 374: 20180206.Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Stoddard, M.C., Hogan, B., Stevens, M. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2019) Higher-level pattern features provide additional information to birds when recognizing and rejecting parasitic eggs. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 374: 20180197. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Jamie, G.A. & Kilner, R.M. (2017) Begging call mimicry by brood parasite nestlings: adaptation, manipulation and development. In: Avian Brood Parasitism edited by Manuel Soler, Springer Publishing Company
  • Stevens, M., Troscianko, J., Wilson-Aggarwal, J.K. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2017) Improvement of individual camouflage through background choice in ground-nesting birds. Nature Ecology & Evolution 1: 1325-1333. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Spottiswoode, C.N. (2017) Perspectives: The most perfect thing, explained. Science 356: 1234-1235. For link to full text please see Claire’s page
  • Caves, E.M., Stevens, M. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2017) Does coevolution with a shared parasite drive hosts to partition their defences among species? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 284: 20170272 Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Jamie, G.A. (2017) Signals, cues and the nature of mimicry. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 284: 20162080. Read on journal website
  • Troscianko, J. Wilson-Aggarwal, J., Griffiths, D., Spottiswoode, C.N. & Stevens, M. (2017) Relative advantages of dichromatic and trichromatic color vision in camouflage breaking. Behavioral Ecology 28: 556-564. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Sorensen, M.C., Fairhurst, G.D., Jenni-Eiermann, D., Newton, J., Yohannes, E. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2016) Seasonal rainfall at long-term migratory staging sites is associated with altered carry-over effects in a Palearctic-African migratory bird. BMC Ecology 16: 41. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Spottiswoode, C.N., Begg, K.S. & Begg, C.M. (2016) Reciprocal signaling in human-honeyguide mutualism. Science 353: 387-389. For link to full text please see Claire’s page
  • Wilson-Aggarwal, J., Troscianko, J., Stevens, M. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2016) Escape distance in ground-nesting birds differs with level of individual camouflage. American Naturalist 188: 231–239. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Péron, G., Altwegg, R., Jamie, G.A. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2016) Coupled range dynamics of brood parasites and their hosts responding to climate and vegetation changes. Journal of Animal Ecology 85: 1191–1199. Read on journal website
  • Jamie, G.A., Moya, C. & Hamusikili, L. (2016) Incubation and nest-defence behaviour of Streaky-breasted Flufftail Sarothrura boehmi in Zambia. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 23: 82–85. Download PDF
  • Horrocks, N.P.C. (2016) Usurpation of a Crowned Lapwing Vanellus coronatus nest by African Wattled Lapwings V. senegalensis. Ostrich 87: 95-97. Read on journal website
  • Sorensen, M.C., Jenni-Eiermann, S. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2016) Why do migratory birds sing on their tropical wintering grounds? American Naturalist 187: E65–E76. Read on journal website
  • Troscianko, J., Wilson-Aggarwal, J., Stevens, M. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2016) Camouflage directly predicts the survival probability of ground-nesting birds. Scientific Reports 6: 19966. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Sorensen, M.C., Asghar, M., Bensch, S., Fairhurst, G.D., Jenni-Eiermann, S. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2016) A rare study from the wintering grounds provides insight into the costs of malaria infection for migratory birds. Journal of Avian Biology 57: 575–582. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Caves, E.M., Stevens, M., Iversen, E. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2015) Hosts of brood parasites have evolved egg signatures with elevated information content. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 282: 20150598. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Feeney, W.E., Troscianko, J., Langmore, N.E. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2015) Evidence for aggressive mimicry in an adult brood parasitic bird, and generalised defences in its host. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 282: 2015079. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • El-Arabany, N., Sorensen, M.C. & Hansson, B. (2015) Inferring the links between breeding and wintering grounds in a Palearctic-African migratory bird, the Great Reed Warbler, using mitochondrial DNA data. African Zoology 50: 241-248.
  • Tong, W., Horrocks, N.P.C. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2015) The sight of an adult brood parasite near the nest is an insufficient cue for a honeyguide host to reject foreign eggs. Ibis 157: 626-630. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Sorensen, M.C. (2014) Singing in Africa: no evidence for a long supposed function of winter song in a migratory songbird. Behavioral Ecology 25: 909-915. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Spottiswoode, C.N. (2013) Perspectives: How cooperation defeats cheats. Science 342: 1452-1453. Read on journal website
  • Stevens, M., Troscianko, J. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2013) Repeated targeting of the same hosts by a brood parasite compromises host egg rejection. Nature Communications 4: 2475. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Spottiswoode, C.N. (2013) A brood parasite selects for its own eggs traits.Biology Letters 9: 20130573. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Corfield, J.R., Birkhead, T.R., Spottiswoode, C.N., Iwaniuk, A.N., Boogert, N.J., Gutiérrez-Ibáñez, C., Overington, S.E., Wylie, D.R. & Lefebvre, L. (2013) Brain size and morphology of the brood-parasitic and cerophagous honeyguides (Aves: Piciformes). Brain, Behaviour and Evolution 81: 170-186. Download PDF
  • Spottiswoode, C.N. & Stevens, M. (2012) Host-parasite arms races and rapid changes in bird egg appearance. American Naturalist 179: 633-648. Download PDF
  • Spottiswoode, C.N. & Koorevaar, J. (2012) A stab in the dark: chick killing by brood parasitic honeyguides. Biology Letters 8: 241-244. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Spottiswoode, C.N., Kilner, R.M. & Davies, N.B. (2012) Brood parasitism. in: Royle, N.J., Smiseth, P.T. & Kölliker, M. (Eds) The Evolution of Parental Care. Oxford University Press. Download chapter PDF
  • Langmore, N.E. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2012) Host manipulation through visual trickery in avian brood parasites. in: Hughes, D.P., Brodeur, J. & Thomas, F. (Eds) Host Manipulation By Parasites. Oxford University Press. Download chapter PDF
  • Spottiswoode, C.N., Stryjewski, K.F., Quader, S., Colebrook-Robjent, J.F.R. & Sorenson, M.D. (2011) Ancient host-specificity within a single species of brood parasitic bird. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 108: 17738-17742. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Spottiswoode, C.N. & Stevens, M. (2011) How to evade a coevolving brood parasite: egg discrimination versus egg variability as host defences. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 278: 3566-3573. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Birkhead, T.R., Hemmings, N., Spottiswoode, C.N., Mikulica, O, Moskát, C., Bán, M. & Schulze-Hagen, K. (2011) Internal incubation and early hatching in brood parasitic birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 278, 1019-1024. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Spottiswoode, C.N. (2010) The evolution of host-specific variation in cuckoo eggshell strength. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23: 1792-1799. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Spottiswoode, C.N. & Stevens, M. (2010) Visual modeling shows that avian host parents use multiple visual cues in rejecting parasitic eggs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 107: 8672-8676. Read on journal website [Open Access]
  • Spottiswoode, C.N. & Colebrook-Robjent, J.F.R. (2007) Egg puncturing by the brood parasitic Greater Honeyguide and potential host counteradaptations. Behavioral Ecology 18: 792-799. Download PDF

 

News

Evolutionary Biology Crash Course

Tanmay Dixit was a member of a team organising and lecturing in the inaugural Evolutionary Biology Crash Course. This course, aimed at undergraduate or early-postgraduate students, teaches evolutionary principles to students who have had limited opportunities to be exposed to evolutionary ideas. The course is funded by the Equal Opportunities Initiative Fund of the European Society of Evolutionary Biology (ESEB). Tanmay presented lectures on behavioural ecology and evolution, focussing on kin selection, coevolution, and parasitism. Over 700 students, with the vast majority from the global South, attended the course, which was a resounding success!

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New paper on visual complexity & mimicry

Our paper “Visual complexity of egg patterns predicts egg rejection according to Weber’s Law” has just been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. This research was led by Tanmay Dixit, and carried out together with Andrei Apostol, Kuan-Chi Chen, Tony Fulford, Chris Town and Claire Spottiswoode, in a collaboration between biologists and computer scientists. We used machine learning to compute a biologically-relevant measure of egg pattern complexity, and combined this with field experiments in Zambia to investigate how complexity evolves in an arms race between host egg signatures (by tawny-flanked prinias) and parasitic egg forgeries (by cuckoo finches).

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Fieldwork and teaching at APLORI, Nigeria

Dr Gabriel Jamie is continuing his fieldwork on the evolution of polymorphisms in cisticolas and prinias in Nigeria, where he is also a teaching fellow at the AP Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI). The image shows the 2022 APLORI MSc class during the Global Birding Big Day on 14 May. The team recorded 135 species while walking around the nature reserve surrounding the institute.

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New paper on the genetics of cuckoo finch egg mimicry

Our paper “Genetic architecture facilitates then constrains adaptation in a host-parasite coevolutionary arms race” has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. In it, we address the long-standing puzzle of how exquisite mimicry of the eggs of several different host species can evolve within a single species of brood-parasitic bird. We show that in cuckoo finches in Zambia, egg mimicry of different host egg phenotypes is maternally inherited, which allows mothers to transmit host-specific adaptations to their daughters irrespective of which host species the father was raised by. This study was a team effort from colleagues at the University of Cambridge and University of Cape Town (Claire Spottiswoode, Wenfei Tong, Gabriel Jamie), at Boston University (Katherine Stryjewski, Jeff DaCosta, Evan Kuras and Michael Sorenson) and in the Choma community in Zambia (Ailsa Green, Silky Hamama, Ian Taylor and Collins Moya).

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