Date of Award

December 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Emily K. Latch

Second Advisor

Linda A. Whittingham

Committee Members

Emily K. Latch, Linda A. Whittingham, Peter O. Dunn


Environment, Extra-Pair Mating, House Wren, Temperate, Tropical


Considerable variation exists in the rate of extra-pair matings (EPMs) in birds. Environmental variability likely influences EPM rates within species, but the effects of local environmental factors on EPM rates are largely unpredictable. To determine whether broad-scale environmental factors might be better predictors of EPM rates within species, we quantified levels of extra-pair paternity in the house wren (Troglodytes aedon) in four populations spanning a range of latitude, elevation, and primary productivity (measured by actual evapotranspiration rates). Our results indicated an intermediate and variable level of EPM among populations (6 -31% extra-pair young) that was not significantly affected by 3 broad-scale environmental factors. We found no correlation between EPM rate and parental relatedness, sire genetic diversity, or offspring male bias. Overall, we suggest that broad-scale environmental factors likely have weak effects on EPM, and that local-scale factors may be more important drivers of intraspecific EPM rates.