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New study sheds light on Galápagos hawk evolutionary history
Date:10/2/2007

ves on these birds have helped illuminate their hosts evolutionary history.

The Galpagos National Park and Charles Darwin Research Station are working to save Darwins archipelago from the fate of similar island systems. As part of this effort Patricia Parker, the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Zoological Studies at UMSL, forged a close working relationship with the two organizations to better understand the threats facing the islands endangered birds. Parker initiated this collaboration by examining the basic biology and conservation genetics of the Galpagos Hawk and a few other species that she and her collaborators had studied previously.

A permanent resident found only in the Galpagos island, the Galpagos hawk has intrigued biologists for decades because of its unusual mating system, (cooperative polyandry) within some, but not all, island populations.

In this type of mating system, a single female hawk and up to eight male hawks, who are not close relatives, live in a stable territorial group and cooperate to rear chicks. This type of mating system is rare among birds, and understanding the sequence in which islands were colonized may reveal the point at which it first occurred, and thereby help us understand the evolution of cooperative behavior.


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Contact: Kedra Tolson
tolsonk@umsl.edu
314-516-5851
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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