Faculty Advisor

Wimberger, Peter

Area of Study

Science and Mathematics

Publication Date

Summer 2018


Within the past thirty years, two formerly isolated subspecies of white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) have formed an overlap in geographic range. This creates a natural experiment in speciation and reproductive isolation. Understanding how song acts as a reproductive barrier in this overlap can contribute to our understanding of behavioral isolation. We preformed playback experiments on territorial males to measure subspecific vocal discrimination. Additionally, we looked to see if hybridization was occurring. In the playback experiments we found that Z. l. pugetensis discriminates more strongly between songs, while Z. l. gambelii demonstrates little to no difference in response. We also found evidence of interbreeding between the two subspecies.


University of Puget Sound