Elaina M. Tuttle

Associate Professor of Life Sciences
Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany

LIFS 491/491L: Forensic Biology
LIFS 491/691: Population Genetics
LIFS 491/691: Molecular Ecology & Evolution
E-mail Dr. Tuttle elaina.tuttle@indstate.edu

Research Interests: behavioral ecology; avian mating systems; populations genetics

Dr. Tuttle is interested in the evolution of behavior, populations, and species. Specifically, she examines how ecology, behavior, genetics, and physiology maintain natural variation through their influence on the evolution of life-history strategies, phenotypic expression, and both the relative fitness and frequency of genotypes within a population. Dr. Tuttle is currently involved in two projects that investigate these factors: 1) a study of the maintenance of polymorphism via disassortative mating in the white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis), and 2) a study of sexual selection and the evolution of mating systems in Australian fairy-wrens (Malurus splendens, M. lamberti, M. leucopterus) in collaboration with Stephen Pruett-Jones (University of Chicago) and Michael S. Webster (Washington State University).

Dr. Tuttle's work on white-throated sparrows and fairy-wrens examines how individuals maximize fitness through the differential allocation of time, energy, and resources. Both research projects examine 1) how individuals balance various life Two different color morphs of white-throated sparrows. history trade-offs, and 2) how life-history trade-offs generate variance that affects the evolution of sexually-selected characters. Dr. Tuttle's research differs from conventional evolutionary study in that she often employs concepts and techniques borrowed from other disciplines. Dr. Tuttle utilizes observational and experimental methods in the field and laboratory, molecular genetic techniques (e.g. minisatellite DNA fingerprinting, microsatellites, RAPDs, AFLPs), physiological techniques (e.g. semen sampling, hormonal analyses, and immunological analyses), and other multi-disciplinary techniques (e.g. karyotyping, histology). An integrative approach often reveals new alternative hypotheses and allows her to investigate evolutionary questions at proximate and ultimate levels.

Dr. Tuttle has a general interest in population genetics, the nature and organization of genetic variation in populations, and how genetic diversity affects the conservation of species. She has collaborated on several such research projects on a variety of organisms ranging from mammals to insects.

Selected Publications:
Tuttle, E.M., Jensen, R.R., Formica, V.A., & Gonser, R.A. 2006. Using remote sensing image texture to study habitat use patterns: A case study using the polymorphic white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis). Global Ecology and Biogeography 15: 349-357. PDF (163 Kb)

Formica VA, Gonser RA, Ramsay S, Tuttle EM. Spatial dynamics of alternative reproductive strategies: The role of neighbors. Ecology 85 (4): 1125-1136 APR 2004 PDF (13.5MB)

Tuttle EM. 2003. Alternative reproductive strategies in the white-throated sparrow: behavioral and genetic evidence Behavioral Ecology 14 (3): 425-432 PDF (152KB)

Tuttle, E. M. and S. Pruett-Jones. 1996. White-winged choughs Corcora melanorhamphos using a stick nest. Emu 96: 207-208.

Tuttle, E. M., S. Pruett-Jones, and M . S. Webster. 1996. Cloacal protuberances and extreme sperm production in Australian fairy-wrens. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 263: 1359-1364. PDF (1138 Kb)

Tuttle, E. M., L. Wulfson, T. Caraco. 1990. Risk-aversion, relative abundance of resources and foraging preference. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 26: 165-171.

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