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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

  • Baldwin-Brown J.G., S. M. Villa, A. Vickery, K. P. Johnson, S. E. Bush, D. H. Clayton, and M. D. Shapiro. 2021. The assembled and annotated genome of the pigeon louse Columbicola columbae, a model ectoparasite. G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics.
  • McNew, S. M., G. B. Goodman, J. Yépez, and D. H. Clayton>. 2020. Parasitism by an invasive nest fly reduces future reproduction in Galápagos mockingbirds. Oecologia 192:363–374.
  • Villa, S. M. , J. C. Altuna, J. S. Ruff, A. B. Beach, L. I. Mulvey, E. J. Poole, H. E. Campbell, K. P. Johnson, M. D. Shapiro, S. E. Bush and D. H. Clayton. 2019. Experimental evolution of reproductive isolation from a single natural population. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 116: 13440-13445.
  • Bush, S. E., S. M. Villa, J. C. Altuna, K. P. Johnson, M. D. Shapiro and D. H. Clayton. 2019. Host defense triggers rapid adaptive radiation in experimentally evolving parasites. Evolution Letters 3-2: 120–128.
  • McNew S.M., S. A. Knutie, G. B. Goodman, A. Saulsberry, A. Theodosopoulos, J. R. Yépez, S. E. Bush and D. H. Clayton. 2019. Annual environmental variation influences host tolerance of parasites. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 286: 20190049.
  • Bush, S. E. and D. H. Clayton. 2018. Anti-parasite behavior of birds. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B. 1-13, DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2017.0196
  • Clayton, D. H., S. E. Bush and K. P. Johnson. 2015. Coevolution of life on hosts: Integrating ecology and history. University of Chicago Press. 294 pages & 16 color plates.
  • Full Publication List

Courses Taught

  • Biol 3410: Ecology and Evolution
  • Biol 5455: Desert Field Ecology