Brant Faircloth

Robert C. Anderson Memorial Award 2010

Brant Faircloth, a post-doctoral scholar in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California in Los Angeles, used molecular techniques to demonstrate a flexible mating system and social integration in Bobwhite quail. Contrary to the accepted dogma that the ground-nesting Bobwhites are monogamous, Faircloth showed that their mating and social behavior may include monogamy, polygamy, and polyandry. He also documented intra-specific nest parasitism and brood amalgamation as important social behaviors. Over three years he captured, genetically sampled, and radio-tagged more than 600 adult birds over three years. He linked that data with an additional 600 newly hatched chicks to create a social and genetic matrix of his study population. Faircloth and his collaborators at UGA and UCLA are creating models for testing this newly discovered flexible social system in other bird species. His work has already resulted in 14 published papers.