Patricia Adair Gowaty

Patricia Adair GowatyDistinguished Research Professor 2003

Patricia Adair Gowaty, Professor of Ecology, studies the evolution of social behavior, especially among Eastern bluebirds, and is among the leading scholars in behavioral ecology. By boldly asking questions from a feminine perspective, Dr. Gowaty has overturned many fundamental assumptions about social interaction, mate selection, monogamy, two-parent care of nestlings, and other social behaviors that determine reproductive success. For example, she has shown that two parents are not required for bluebird nesting success, that female bluebirds are not monogamous – up to 50 percent of their nests contain young sired by multiple fathers – and that one-fifth of nestlings are sired by fathers other than the one raising them. Based on her landmark findings, other scientists have looked for and found evidence of extra-pair paternity in more than 90 percent of the 100 or so species investigated. A 1999 Lamar Dodd Award recipient, Dr. Gowaty is a Fellow, former President and Quest Award recipient of the Animal Behavior Society, and a Fellow and past Vice President of the American Ornithologists’ Union. She holds a life-time appointment on the International Ornithological Committee, the governing body of the International Ornithological Congress.

Previous Award

Lamar Dodd Award 1999