Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Reader in Biodiversity and Ecosystems



+44 (0)20 7594 1059j.tobias




KennedySilwood Park






BibTex format

author = {Derryberry, EP and Seddon, N and Derryberry, GE and Claramunt, S and Seeholzer, GF and Brumfield, RT and Tobias, JA},
doi = {10.1002/ece3.3760},
journal = {Ecology and Evolution},
pages = {1890--1905},
title = {Ecological drivers of song evolution in birds: Disentangling the effects of habitat and morphology},
url = {},
volume = {8},
year = {2018}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Environmental differences influence the evolutionary divergence of mating signals through selection acting either directly on signal transmission ("sensory drive") or because morphological adaptation to different foraging niches causes divergence in "magic traits" associated with signal production, thus indirectly driving signal evolution. Sensory drive and magic traits both contribute to variation in signal structure, yet we have limited understanding of the relative role of these direct and indirect processes during signal evolution. Using phylogenetic analyses across 276 species of ovenbirds (Aves: Furnariidae), we compared the extent to which song evolution was related to the direct influence of habitat characteristics and the indirect effect of body size and beak size, two potential magic traits in birds. We find that indirect ecological selection, via diversification in putative magic traits, explains variation in temporal, spectral, and performance features of song. Body size influences song frequency, whereas beak size limits temporal and performance components of song. In comparison, direct ecological selection has weaker and more limited effects on song structure. Our results illustrate the importance of considering multiple deterministic processes in the evolution of mating signals.
AU - Derryberry,EP
AU - Seddon,N
AU - Derryberry,GE
AU - Claramunt,S
AU - Seeholzer,GF
AU - Brumfield,RT
AU - Tobias,JA
DO - 10.1002/ece3.3760
EP - 1905
PY - 2018///
SN - 2045-7758
SP - 1890
TI - Ecological drivers of song evolution in birds: Disentangling the effects of habitat and morphology
T2 - Ecology and Evolution
UR -
UR -
VL - 8
ER -