Function and regulation of the tegumentary coloration in Chimango Caracaras

Principal researcher: David Canal

Period: 2020-2022

The evolution of ornamental colorations is a central issue in behavioral and evolutionary biology. To understand the function and evolution of these characters, it is necessary to understand the mechanisms that regulate their expression and how they are linked to physical state and individual quality. Carotenoid-based colorations, which are frequent in birds, constitute an ideal study model to investigate these processes. Further, this type of characters have great interest in the field of ecotoxicology because i) they are closely linked with the physiological state of the animal -making them useful in environmental monitoring processes- and ii) due to its key role in social communication, they could mediate sublethal effects of anthropic action on wildlife. The general objective of this project is to investigate the physiological mechanisms involved in the expression of the coloration of the tarsi and ceres of Chimango Caracaras Milvago chimango, as well as to elucidate whether the expression of this coloration is related to the individual quality and the degree of habitat alteration.