Professor of Biology Jordan Price co-authored and published a paper with Karolyn Garcia ’19, based on Garcia’s St. Mary’s Project research. The paper appeared on November 7 in the journal Evolution: International Journal of Organic Evolution. Garcia previously presented this work at the annual meeting of the Maryland Ornithological Society.
The paper’s abstract states that although many studies have looked at the evolution of color differences between the sexes (sexual dichromatism) in birds, few have compared the relative rates of these evolutionary changes in males and females. Price and Garcia show that increases in sexual dichromatism involve divergent changes by both sexes at approximately equal rates, whereas decreases in dichromatism involve exceedingly rapid changes in females to match the plumage color patterns of males, illustrating how rapidly such differences between the sexes can be lost. These results have broad implications for how sexual dimorphisms evolve in a wide range of species.