Migration is one of the most fascinating behaviours found in nature, but how it evolved in such a wide variety of taxonomic groups and geographic locations has largely remained a mystery. One approach our lab has taken for understanding why migration is so common is to develop theoretical models that produce quantitative predictions for the demographic conditions under which migration is expected to evolve from a resident (sedentary) ancestral population. A second approach we have taken is to examine the costs and benefits of migratory behaviour in the wild. For example, in collaboration with Alice Boyle and Chris Guglielmo, we have tested hypotheses related to the proximate and ultimate evolution of migration in a partially migratory population of White-ruffed manakins in Costa Rica.
Boyle, WA, Guglielmo, CG, Hobson, KA & Norris, DR. 2011. Lekking birds in a tropical forest forego sex for migration. Biology Letters 7: 661-663.
Griswold, CK, Taylor, CM & Norris, DR. 2010. The evolution of migration in a seasonal environment. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London: Biological Sciences 277: 2711-2720.
Boyle, WA, Norris, DR, Guglielmo, CG. 2010. Storms drive altitudinal migration in a tropical bird. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London: Biological Sciences 277: 2511-2519.
Taylor, CM & Norris, DR. 2007. Predicting conditions for migration: effects of density-dependence and habitat quality. Biology Letters 3: 280-283.