Willow Lindsay

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I received my PhD in 2010 at Washington State University, coadvised by Dr. Hubert Schwabl and Dr. Michael Webster. I am interested in the function of hormones as a conditionally dependent link between a changing environment and avian reproductive tactics (see Karubian and Lindsay et al. 2011), and the molecular and hormonal mechanisms underlying the production and evolution of variation in avian color patterns (see Lindsay et al. 2009, Lindsay et al. 2011). I am currently working as a Post-doc in the lab of Dr. Lainy Day at Ole Miss, examining the neuroendocrine mechanisms regulating the evolution of complex mating display in a family of neotropical songbirds.

My prior research has focused primarily on plumage color, a static display largely controlled during trait acquisition and requiring limited neuronal input. The project with Dr. Day is a segue into studies of dynamic displays (such as song or courtship behavior) which are continuously regulated over the course of the season and require neurological specializations. It also offers the opportunity to look at physiological regulation of reproduction in an evolutionary framework, a powerful technique through which we are able to ask big questions about how different regulatory mechanisms have evolved and how these mechanisms might lead to character bias in the evolution of display traits.

At OleMiss, I will expand on my previous training in behavioral endocrinology, reproductive biology, and evolutionary ecology and build skills in genomics and neuro-endocrine techniques. I will use these skills and the results of my research to develop the theoretical framework for a subsequent post-doc in which I will test a model of the mechanistic evolution of plumage color across an Australian clade of songbirds. A central component of my long-term career goal is to develop and nurture scientific collaborations and networks, thus immersing myself in an interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international research communit


Lindsay, R. W; Webster, M. S; Schwabl, H. (2011) Sexually selected male plummage color is testosterone dependent in a tropical passerine, the red-backed fairy wren (Malurus melanocephalus), PLoS One 6(10): e26067. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026067

Karubian, J; Lindsay, W. R; Schwabl, H; Webster M. S (2011) Bill coloration, a flexible signal in a tropical passerine bird, is regulated by social environment and androgens, Animal Behavior, 81, 2011, 795-800

Lindsay, R. W; Webster, M. S; Varian, C. W; Schwabl, H (2009) Plumage colour acquisition and behaviour are associated with androgens in a phenotypically plastic tropical bird, Animal Behavior, 77, 2009, 1525-1532