My First First-Author Paper!

I just recently had my first first-author paper accepted for publication in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B! The paper was the result of work I started as an undergrad at Trinity University, where I worked with both Troy Murphy (link) and Michele Johnson (link) on my honors thesis. It is crazy to think that I started this work four years ago. Briefly, we were Pine warblertesting a novel hypothesis to explain the geographic patterns of sexual differences in coloration in wood-warblers. The geographic pattern is that prothonotary warbleras you move north away from the equator, birds (not just wood-warblers) seem to exhibit greater differences in coloration between the sexes (sexual dichromatism). We hypothesized that this pattern was driven by evolutionary increases in the distance species migrated. We thought that longer migration distances would be costly to individuals, which would select against being colorful, which is also costly. However, males gain great benefits by being colorful since they use their coloration to attract Wilson's warblermates (females do not do this), so we predicted that males would maintain their coloration while females would lose it – thus the observed geographic pattern. Through our work, we found that this hypothesis was indeed supported! Check out the paper here. Excitingly, this paper has been picked up by several science news outlets, such as Science, Nature, and IFL Science. Be sure to check them out as well!

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