Research Publication
Professorial Lecturer in Keck Science Elise Ferree
Elise Ferree, Professorial Lecturer in Keck Science, published an article on morphological variation in a common North American songbird, the Dark-eyed junco. This “species” has puzzled taxonomists for centuries, because the five recognized subspecies are very different in appearance yet not genetically distinct. As such, juncos are rapidly becoming a model system for understanding and observing how speciation occurs. By measuring almost 800 museum specimens, Dr. E. Ferree created a comprehensive data set and analysis of how the junco subspecies vary in several plumage and structural traits. This information will be useful to those interested in the speciation process and in particular the growing number of biologists investigating the divergence of the junco subspecies into distinct, non-interbreeding species.  


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