Independent evolution of elaborate song and plumage in tanagers

The first chapter of my master’s work at San Diego State University was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B today—check out the publications page for a full pdf. Our work was also featured in two posts by the Lab of Ornithology:

In short, we find that complex visual and acoustic displays evolve independently in tanagers, although there is marked variation among subfamilies in terms of the relationship between certain indices of song and plumage elaboration. This is illustrated below by the seemingly random scatter of points interspersed with different trend lines for different subfamilies, resembling a game of ‘pick-up-sticks.’ Thanks to my co-authors and close friends Allison Shultz and Kevin Burns for their collaborative efforts on this project!