Dynamic feedback between phenotype and physiology in sexually selected traits

Dustin R. Rubenstein, Mark E. Hauber

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Theory predicts that physiological costs of producing elaborate phenotypes assure the honesty of sexually selected traits. It is generally assumed that these physiological processes drive sexually selected displays. However, a recent study by Safran and colleagues demonstrates that the manipulation of plumage ornaments in barn swallows alters the temporal course of circulating androgens, thus rejecting the scenario of a static, unidirectional relationship between physiology and sexual displays. Instead, these results suggest that dynamic feedbacks between physiological, morphological and behavioural costs underlie the development and maintenance of sexually selected ornaments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-658
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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