What do swallows in Lancaster have in common with swallows in Alaska and Tierra del Fuego?
The forces that drive the evolution of this seemingly simple trait are actually complex and currently unresolved. Ardia and his collaborators believe that comparing a single closely-related group that differs widely in their breeding biology and environmental surroundings can help shed light on the evolution of this and other life history traits.
The research, called the Golondrinas Network, is supported by a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation through the Program in International Research and Education. A central goal of the project is to provide research experiences for undergraduates along with international outreach and education.
Teams are currently in the field in Argentina, Belize, Canada, and Mexico, with plans for research in Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru.