The Gouldian finch Erythrura gouldiae, is endemic bird of the tropical savannah of northern Australia. The Gouldian is special in that it occurs sympatrically in three genetically distinct head colour morphs. This provides an excellent opportunity to understand the genetic basis of colour divergence in birds, and the processes underlying speciation and polymorphism.
In both the wild and captivity we are studying behaviour, genetics and physiology of this polymorphic species. We are also working with historical samples from museums to understand the extent to which this threatened species has declined over the past century.
Our molecular work on this species is being conducted in collaboration with Terry Burke (Sheffield University, UK) and Lee Ann Rollins (Deakin University).
Publications from our work on the Gouldian finch:
Kim KW, Jackson BC, Zhang H, Toews DPL, Taylor SA, Greig EI, Lovette IJ, Liu MM, Davison A, Griffith SC, Zeng K, Burke T (2019) Genetics and evidence for balancing selection of a sex-linked colour polymorphism in a songbird. Nature Communications, 10:1852. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-09806-6
Bolton PE, Rollins LA, Brazill-Boast J, Maute KL,Legge S, Austin JJ, Griffith SC (2018) Genetic diversity through time and space: diversity and demographic history from natural history specimens and serially sampled contemporary populations of the threatened Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae). Conservation Genetics, 19, 737-754. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10592-018-1051-1
Bolton PE, Brazill-Boast J, Kim KW, Rollins LA, Burke T, Griffith SC (2017) The colour of paternity: extra-pair paternity in the wild Gouldian finch does not appear to be driven by genetic incompatibility between morphs. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 30, 174-190. https://doi.org/10.1111/jeb.12997
Bolton PE, West AJ, Cardilini APA, Clark JA, Maute KL, Legge S, Brazill-Boast J, Griffith SC, Rollins LA (2016) Three molecular markers show no evidence of population genetic structure in the Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae). PLoS ONE 11(12): e0167723. https://doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0167723143.
Bolton PE, Rollins LA, Griffith SC (2016) Colour polymorphism is likely to be disadvantageous to some populations and species due to genetic architecture and morph interactions. Molecular Ecology 25, 2713-2718. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.13632
Kim, K-W, Griffith SC, Burke T (2016) Linkage mapping of a polymorphic plumage locus associated with inter-morph incompatibility in the Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae). Heredity. https://doi.org/10.1038/hdy.2015.114
Kokko H, Griffith SC, & Pryke SR (2014) The hawk-dove game in a sexually reproducing species explains a colorful polymorphism of an endangered bird. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, Series B, 218, 20141794. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.1794
Brazill-Boast J, Griffith SC & Pryke SR (2013). Morph-dependent resource acquisition and fitness in a polymorphic bird. Evolutionary Ecology, 27, 1189-1198. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10682-013-9651-1
Templeton JT, Mountjoy DJ, Pryke SR, & Griffith SC (2012) In the eye of the beholder: visual mate choice lateralization in a polymorphic songbird. Biology Letters, 8, 924-927. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2012.0830
Brazill-Boast J, Pryke SR & Griffith SC (2013) Provisioning habitat with custom-designed nest-boxes increases reproductive success in an endangered finch. Austral Ecology, 38, 405-412. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.2012.02424.x
Pryke SR, Astheimer LB, Griffith SC & Buttemer WA (2012) Covariation in life-history traits: differential effects of diet on condition, hormones, behavior and reproduction in genetic finch morphs. The American Naturalist, 179, 375-390. https://doi.org/10.1086/664078
Brazill-Boast J, Dessmann JK, Davies GTO, Pryke SR & Griffith SC (2011) Breeding habitat selection in the endangered Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae) at two spatial scales. Emu, 111, 304-311.
Pryke SR, Rollins LA & Griffith SC (2011) Context-dependent sex allocation: constraints on the expression and evolution of maternal effects. Evolution, 65, 2792-2799.
Pryke SR, Rollins LA, Buttemer WA, & Griffith SC (2011) Maternal stress to partner quality is linked to adaptive offspring sex ratio adjustment. Behavioral Ecology, 22, 717-722.
Griffith SC, Pryke SR, Buttemer WA (2011) Constrained mate choice in social monogamy and the stress of having an unattractive partner. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, Series B, 278, 2798-2805.
Pearce D, Pryke SR & Griffith SC (2011) Interspecific aggression for nest sites: model experiments with long-tailed and endangered Gouldian finches. Auk, 128, 497-505.
Brazill-Boast J, van Rooij EP, Pryke SR, Griffith SC (2011) Interference from long-tailed finches constrains reproduction in the endangered Gouldian finch. Journal of Animal Ecology, 80, 39-48.
Pryke SR, Rollins LA, Griffith SC (2010) Females use multiple mating and genetically loaded sperm competition to target compatible genes. Science, 329, 964-967.
Immler S, Pryke SR, Birkhead TR & Griffith SC (2010) Pronounced within-individual plasticity in sperm morphometry across social environments. Evolution, 64, 1634-1643.
Brazill-Boast J, Pryke SR, & Griffith SC (2010) Nest-site utilisation and niche overlap in two sympatric, cavity-nesting finches. Emu, 110, 170-177.
Pryke SR & Griffith SC (2010) Maternal adjustment of parental effort in relation to mate compatibility affects offspring fitness. Behavioral Ecology, 21, 226-232.
Pryke SR & Griffith SC (2009) Socially mediated trade-offs between agression and parental effort in competing color morphs. The American Naturalist, 174, 455-464.
Gilby, AJ, Pryke SR & Griffith SC (2009) The historical frequency of head colour morphs in the Gouldian finch Erythrura gouldiae. Emu, 109, 222-229.
Pryke SR & Griffith SC (2009) Genetic incompatibility drives sex allocation and maternal investment in a polymorphic finch. Science, 323, 1605-1607.
Pryke SR & Griffith SC (2009) Postzygotic genetic incompatibility between sympatric color morphs. Evolution, 63, 793-798.
Pryke SR, Astheimer LB, Buttemer WA & Griffith SC (2007) Frequency-dependent physiological trade-offs between competing colour morphs. Biology Letters, 3, 494-497.
Pryke SR & Griffith SC (2007) The relative role of male versus female mate choice in maintaining assortative pairing among discrete colour morphs. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 20, 1512-1521.
Pryke SR & Griffith SC (2006) Red dominates black: agonistic signalling among head morphs in the colour polymorphic Gouldian finch. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, Series B, 273, 949-957.