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Michael Anderson

Doctor of Philosophy, (Ecology)
Study Completed: 2009
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Evolutionary interactions of brood parasites and their hosts: Recognition, communication and breeding biology

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Brood parasites lay their eggs in the nests of other species, thus exploiting them for their parental care. Mr Anderson investigated the evolutionary interactions between avian brood parasites and their hosts in New Zealand, with the Shining Cuckoo and its host, the Grey Warbler, and in Hungary with the Common Cuckoo and the Great Reed Warbler. Mr Anderson’s research contributes to our understanding of parent-offspring communication and provides new insight into breeding phenology of the host at different latitudes in the host species. His brood parasite research has shown how the parasite chick has evolved mimicry of the host chicks’ begging calls and also provides the first documentation of costs to cuckoo chicks from evicting host eggs. Mr Anderson’s research has lead to a clearer understanding of brood parasites, a model system for studying coevolution.

Professor Dianne Brunton
Associate Professor Mark Hauber
Associate Professor Edward Minot

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