December 2 2009

12:00 LSB 2320

Terry Ord
Museum of Comparative Zoology & Dept. of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

The evolutionary ecology of communication in challenging environments


Communication theory predicts animals should produce signals that are conspicuous within the habitats in which they live. The idea that signals need to stand out in the environment predicts that evolutionary divergence in communication will occur when closely related species invade different environments, and evolutionary convergence when distantly related species live in similar environments. However, the contingent nature of evolution is well known: the way a species adapts to changes in the environment will also depend on its ancestral condition and evolutionary history. At this point, it is unclear how the environment and evolutionary history interact to create the diversity of signal forms that are observed in lineages that currently live in a wide array of different habitats. In this talk, I will present my work on the Caribbean Anolis lizards that tries to address this gap in our knowledge, and illustrate how the study of behavior can provide unique insights into the processes underlying the evolution of phenotypic diversity more generally.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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