David J. Anderson

Nazca Booby (unit 2002 considered a subspecies of masked booby)

Nazca Booby

Professor of Biology

B.A. Denison University (1980)
M.S. University of Michigan (1986)
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania (1989)
Assistant Prof. 1992-1998
Associate Prof. 1998-2004
Professor 2004-present

246 Winston Hall
(336) 758-5319
email: da at wfu.edu

Lab Website (click here)


Areas of Interest

Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology, Avian Siblicide, Evolution of Reproductive Rates, Sex Allocation, Conservation Biology in the Galápagos Islands


Our group’s research is on the evolutionary and behavioral ecology of birds. Of particular interest is the evolution of life histories, organizational effects connecting early life experiences to adult behavior, and conservation biology of boobies and albatrosses. We ask questions about the influence of variables such as costs of reproduction, environmental heterogenity and genetic architecture on the evolution of characters like clutch size, offspring sex ratio, and sibling competition. Since 1984 we have pursued a major field research effort in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador on boobies. These birds provide excellent opportunities for experimental approaches to issues in evolutionary and behavioral ecology because they are tolerant of humans.

Our current projects deal with variation in personality, organizational effects on behavior, senescence, juvenile survival, quantitative genetics of life history traits, and foraging ecology of Nazca boobies, and conservation biology of blue-footed boobies.

Recent Publications

(grad students in bold) (link to all publications)

FA Estela, M López-Victoria, and DJ Anderson.  2016.  Sula granti. in: LM Renjifo, MF Gómez, J Velásquez-Tibata, AM Amaya-Villareal, GH Kattan, JD Amaya-Espinel, and J Burbano-Girón (eds). Libro Rojo de Aves de Colombia, Volumen 2. Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana e Instituto Alexander von Humboldt, Bogotá D. C., Colombia.

J Morris-Pocock, DJ Anderson, and VL Freisen.  2016.  A complex history of isolation and gene flow in red-footed boobies (Sula sula): the role of biogeographic barriers to gene flow.  Journal of Biogeography. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12780

HA Thomassen, EM Tompkins, O Thalmann, DJ Anderson, and K Foerster.  2015.  Development and characterization of SNP markers in Nazca boobies using Ion Torrent sequencing and high resolution melt analysis.  Conservation Genetics Resources, doi 10.1007/s12686-015-0458-y.

JL Conroy, AF Collins, JT Overpeck, MB Bush, JE Cole, and DJ Anderson.  2015.  A 400-year isotopic record of seabird response to eastern tropical Pacific productivity.  Geo: Geography and Environment 2:137-147.   DOI: 10.1002/geo2.11

AC Liang, JK Grace, EM Tompkins, and DJ Anderson.  2014.  Yawning, acute stressors, and arousal reduction in Nazca booby adults and nestlings. Physiology and Behavior 140:38-43.

DJ Anchundia, KP Huyvaert, and DJ Anderson.  2014.  Chronic lack of breeding by Galápagos blue-footed boobies and associated population decline. Avian Conservation and Ecology 9:6.

JK Grace and DJ Anderson.  2014.  Corticosterone stress response shows long-term repeatability and links to personality in free-living Nazca boobies. General and Comparative Endocrinology 208:39-48.

JK Grace and DJ Anderson.  2014.  Personality correlates with contextual plasticity in a free-living, long-lived seabird. Behaviour 151: 1281-1311.

TJ Maness and DJ Anderson.  2013.  Predictors of juvenile survival in birds.  Ornithological Monographs No. 78.

JK Grace, EM Tompkins, and DJ Anderson.  2013.  Leucistic adult large cactus finch (Geospiza conirostris) on Española Island, Galápagos: a potential continuation of nestling beak color.  Wilson Journal of Ornithology125:201-204.

SM Cruz, M Hooten, KP Huyvaert, CB Proaño, DJ Anderson, V Afanasyev, and M Wikelski.  2013.  At-sea behavior varies with lunar phase in a nocturnal pelagic seabird, the swallow-tailed gull.  PLoS ONE 8(2):e56889.

JA Awkerman, S Cruz, C Proaño, KP Huyvaert, G Jiménez Uzcátegui, A Baquero, M Wikelski, and DJ Anderson.  2013.  Small range and distinct distribution in a satellite breeding colony of the critically endangered Waved Albatross.  Journal of Ornithology doi10.1007/s10336-013-1013-9.

S Taylor, DJ Anderson, and VL Friesen.  2013.  Evidence for asymmetrical divergence-gene flow of nuclear loci, but not mitochondrial loci, between seabird sister species: blue-footed (Sula nebouxii)  and Peruvian (S. variegata) boobies.  PLoS ONE 8:e62256.

SA Taylor, DJ Anderson, CB Zavalaga, and VL Friesen.  2012.  Evidence for strong assortative mating, limited, gene flow, and strong differentiation across the blue-footed/Peruvian booby hybrid zone in northern Peru.  Journal of Avian Biology 43:311-324.

CB Zavalaga, SD Emslie, FA Estela, MS Müller, G Dell’Omo, and DJ Anderson. 2012. Overnight foraging trips by Nazca boobies and the risk of attack by predatory fish. Ibis 154:61-73.

MS Müller, ET Porter, JK Grace, JA Awkerman, KT Birchler, AR Gunderson, EG Schneider, MA Westbrock, and DJ Anderson. 2011. Maltreated nestlings exhibit correlated maltreatment as adults: evidence of a “cycle of violence” in Nazca boobies (Sula granti). Auk 128: 615-619.

TJ Maness, MA Westbrock, KJ Feeley, and DJ Anderson. 2011. Offspring sex does not influence duration of post-fledging parental care in the sexually size dimorphic Nazca Booby (Sula granti). Neotropical Ornithology 22:347-359.

JK Grace, K Dean, MA Ottinger, and DJ Anderson. 2011. Hormonal effects of maltreatment in Nazca booby nestlings: implications for the “cycle of violence”. Hormones and Behavior 60:78-85.

J Morris-Pocock, DJ Anderson, and VL Freisen. 2011. Mechanisms of global diversification in the brown booby (Sula leucogaster) revealed by uniting population genetic and phylogenetic methods. Molecular Ecology 20:2835-2850.

SA Taylor, CB Zavalaga, G Luna–Jorquera, A Simeone, DJ Anderson, and V Friesen. 2011. Panmixia and high genetic diversity in a Humboldt Current endemic, the Peruvian Booby (Sula variegata). Journal of Ornithology 152:623-630.

SA Taylor, L MacLagan, DJ Anderson, and V Friesen. 2011. Could specialization to cold water upwelling systems influence gene flow and population differentiation in marine organisms? A case study using the blue-footed booby, Sula nebouxii. Journal of Biogeography 38:883-893.

RA Browne, EA Collins, and DJ Anderson. 2010. Morphological variation of Galápagos Island populations of the yellow warbler Dendroica petechia aureola. Galápagos Research 67:9-13.

CB Zavalaga, SA Taylor, G Dell’omo, DJ Anderson, and VL Friesen. 2010. Male/female classification of the Peruvian booby. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121:739-744.

J Morris-Pocock, TE Steeves, FA Estela, DJ Anderson, and VL Friesen. 2010. Comparative phylogeography of brown (Sula leucogaster) and red-footed boobies (S. sula): the influence of physical barriers and habitat preference on gene flow in pelagic seabirds. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 54:883-896.

JK Grace and DJ Anderson. 2009. Masked booby (Sula dactylatra). In The Birds of North America, No. 73 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences.

MS Müller, JF Brennecke, ET Porter, MA Ottinger, and DJ Anderson. 2008. Perinatal androgens and adult behavior vary with nestling social system in siblicidal boobies. PLOS One3(6): e2460. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002460. [pdf]

TJ Maness and DJ Anderson. 2008. Mate rotation by female choice and coercive divorce in Nazca boobies (Sula granti). Animal Behaviour 76:1267-1277. [pdf]

DJ Anderson, KP Huyvaert, JA Awkerman, CB Proaño, WB Milstead, G Jiménez-Uzcátegui, S Cruz, and JK Grace. 2008. Population Status of the Critically Endangered Waved Albatross (Phoebastria irrorata), 1999-2007. Endangered Species Research doi: 10.3354/esr00089. [pdf]

Suryan, RM, DJ Anderson, SA Shaffer, DD Roby, Y Tremblay, DP Costa, PR Sievert, F Sato, K Ozaki, GR Balogh, and N Nakamura. 2008. Wind, waves, and wing-loading. PLoS One 3(12): e4016 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.000401

Browne, RA, EI Collins, and DJ Anderson. 2008. Genetic structure of Galápagos populations of the yellow warbler. Condor 110:549-553

JA Awkerman, GC Whittow, and DJ Anderson. 2008. Black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes). In The Birds of North America, No. 65 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences.

P Helsen, RA Browne, DJ Anderson, and P Verdyck. 2008. Galápagos Opuntia (Prickly Pear) Cacti: Extensive Morphological Diversity, Low Genetic Variability. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, in press.

V Apanius, MA Westbrock, and DJ Anderson. 2008. Parental effort, plastic offspring growth, and immunoglobin G homeostasis in a long-lived seabird, the Nazca Booby Sula granti. Ornithological Monographs 65. [pdf]

HM Townsend and DJ Anderson. 2007. Long-term assessment of costs of reproduction in Nazca boobies (Sula granti) using multi-state mark-recapture models. Evolution 61:1956-1968. [pdf]

HM Townsend and DJ Anderson. 2007. Production of insurance eggs in Nazca boobies: costs, benefits, and variable parental quality. Behavioral Ecology 18:841-848. [pdf]

HM Townsend, TJ Maness, and DJ Anderson. 2007. Offspring growth and parental care in sexually dimorphic Nazca Boobies (Sula granti). Canadian Journal of Zoology 85:686-694. [pdf]

TJ Maness and DJ Anderson. 2007. Serial monogamy and sex ratio bias in Nazca boobies. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 274:2047-2054.

TJ Maness, MA Westbrock, and DJ Anderson. 2007. Ontogenic sex ratio variation in Nazca Boobies ends in male-biased adult sex ratio. Waterbirds 30:10-16. [pdf]

JA Awkerman, MA Westbrock, KP Huyvaert, and DJ Anderson. 2007. Female-biased sex ratio arises after parental care in sexually dimorphic waved albatross. Auk 124:1336-1346.

JA Awkerman, K Hobson, and DJ Anderson. 2007. Isotopic (δ 15N and δ 13C) evidence for intersexual foraging differences and temporal variation in habitat use in waved albatrosses. Canadian Journal of Zoology 85:273-279. [pdf]