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Dale Clayton


Ph.D. University of Chicago

Graduate Program Membership:

Office/Building: ASB 570A
Phone: 801-581-6482; 801-585-9742
Clayton/Bush Lab:

Research Statement

We study the ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions, particularly those involving birds and parasitic insects. The approaches we use range from experimental tests of the impact of parasites on host fitness, to reciprocal tests of host behavioral and immunological defense, to the analysis of macro-evolutionary patterns of host-parasite co-evolution. We have recently also been studying endosymbiotic bacteria in the ectoparasites we study. Our work includes alpha taxonomy, molecular and morphologically based phylogenetics, experiments with captive birds, and experiments and comparative studies with wild birds. We work on a variety of taxa and their parasites, including pigeons and doves, scrub jays, and Darwin's finches.

Research Interests

General Interests
Specific Interests
  • Evolutionary parasitology
  • Ecological immunology
  • Interface of microevolution and macroevolution

Selected Publications

  • Clayton, D. H., S. E. Bush and K. P. Johnson. 2016. Coevolution of life on hosts: integrating ecology and history. University of Chicago Press. 294 pp.
  • Knutie, S. A., J. M. Herman, J. P. Owen and D. H. Clayton. 2017. Tri-trophic ecology of native parasitic nest flies of birds in Tobago. Ecosphere. 8(1):e01670. 10.1002/ecs2.1670
  • Villa, S. M., G. B. Goodman, J. S. Ruff and D. H. Clayton. 2016. Does allopreening control avian ectoparasites? Biology Letters 12: 20160362.
  • Villa, S. M., H. E. Campbell, S. E. Bush and D. H. Clayton. 2016. Does anti-parasite behavior improve with experience: Experimental test of the priming hypothesis. Behavioural Ecology. doi:10.1093/beheco/arw032.
  • Knutie, S. A., J. P. Owen, S. M. McNew, A. W. Bartlow, E. Arriero, J. M. Herman, E. Diblasi, M. Thompson, J. A. H. Koop and D. H. Clayton. 2016. Gal�pagos mockingbirds are tolerant hosts of introduced parasites that threaten Darwin�s finches. Ecology 97:940-950.
  • Koop, J. A. H., P. S. Kim, S. A. Knutie, F. Adler and D. H. Clayton. 2015. Introduced parasitic fly may lead to local extinction of Darwin�s finch populations. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12575
  • Bush, S. E. and D. H. Clayton. 2006. The role of body size in host specificity: Reciprocal transfer experiments with feather lice. Evolution 60:2158-2167.

Courses Taught

  • Biol 3410: Ecology and Evolution
  • Biol 5395: Advanced Field Ornithology
  • Biol 5455: Desert Field Ecology