Biologist Bruce Lyon's research featured on cover of Science

Research on lark buntings by UCSC biologist Bruce Lyon and his former graduate student, Alexis Chaine, was featured on the cover of Science. The January 25, 2008, issue of the journal includes their report on a study of the birds' mating behavior, and the cover features Lyon's photo of a male lark bunting. Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million.

Chaine and Lyon looked at how female lark buntings choose their mates. The researchers found that females show strong preferences for certain traits in the males, such as flashy white wing patches, but the preferred traits change from year to year, perhaps in response to shifting environmental conditions. The findings show a surprising level of flexibility in the females, who enhance their nesting success by choosing mates with the right traits.

For a more detailed description of the study, see the recent UCSC story.