Last update: 2012-02-09 16:53:16

Michael S Webster

Cornell University
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Telephone: 607-254-2493


PhD, Cornell University, Neurobiology and Behavior, 1991
BS, UC San Diego, 1983

Professional Positions:
  • Robert G. Engel Associate Professor of Ornithology (2009-present), Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
  • Director, Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds (2009-present), Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
  • Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor (2000-2009), School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
  • Assistant Professor (1995-2000), Biological Sciences, State University of New York, Buffalo, Amherst, NY

  • Research Interests and Activities:
    Behavioral ecology and breeding strategies, ornithology

    Selected Publications:

    Lindsay, W. R., M. S. Webster, and H. Schwabl. 2011. Sexually selected male plumage color is testosterone dependent in a tropical passerine bird, the red-backed fairy-wren (Malurus melanocephalus). PLoS ONE 6(10): e26067. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026067

    Webster, M. S., J. Karubian and H. Schwabl. 2010. Dealing with uncertainty: Flexible reproductive strategies by a tropical passerine bird in an unstable environment. Advances in the Study of Behavior 42: 123-153.

    Colbeck, G. J., T. S. Sillett and M. S. Webster. 2010. Asymmetric song discrimination across populations of a migratory songbird (Dendroica caerulescens). Animal Behaviour, 80(2): 311-318.

    Colbeck, G. J., H. L. Gibbs, P. P. Marra, K. Hobson, and M. S. Webster. 2008. Phylogeography of a widespread North American migratory songbird (Setophaga ruticilla): isolation by distance and evidence for an Atlantic coastal shelf Pleistocene refugium. Journal of Heredity 99(5): 453-463.

    Davis, L. A., E. H. Roalson, K. L. Cornell, K. McClanahan and M. S. Webster. 2006. Genetic divergence and migration patterns in a North American passerine bird: Implications for evolution and conservation. Molecular Ecology 15: 2141-2152.

    Webster, M. S. and P. P. Marra. 2005. The importance of understanding migratory connectivity and cross-seasonal interactions; pp. 199-209 in Birds of Two Worlds (R. Greenberg and P. Marra, eds.), Johns Hopkins University Press.

    Smith, S. B., M. S. Webster and R. T. Holmes. 2005. The heterozygosity theory of extrapair mate choice: a test and a cautionary note. Journal of Avian Biology 36: 146-154.

    Webster, M. S., P. P. Marra, S. M. Haig, S. Bensch, and R. T. Holmes. 2002. Links between worlds: unraveling migratory connectivity. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 17 (2): 76-83.

    Chuang-Dobbs, H. C., M. S. Webster, and R. T. Holmes. 2001. Paternity and parental care in the Black-throated Blue Warbler (Dendroica caerulescens). Animal Behaviour 62: 83-92.

    Chuang-Dobbs, H. C., M. S. Webster, and R. T. Holmes. 2001. The effectiveness of mate guarding by male Black-throated Blue Warblers. Behavioral Ecology 12 (5): 541-546.

    Chuang, H. C., M. S. Webster, and R. T. Holmes. 1999. Extra-pair paternity and local synchrony in the black-throated blue warbler. Auk 116 (3): 726-736).

    Webster, M. S. and S. K. Robinson. 1999. Courtship disruptions and male mating strategies: examples from female-defense mating systems. American Naturalist, 154 (6): 717-729.

    Webster, M. S., H. C. Chuang-Dobbs and R. T. Holmes. 2001. Microsatellite identification of extra-pair sires in a socially monogamous bird. Behavioral Ecology 12 (4): 439-446.

    Webster, M. S., S. G. Pruett-Jones, D. F. Westneat and S. J. Arnold. 1995. Measuring the effects of pairing success, extra-pair copulations and mate quality on the opportunity for sexual selection. Evolution 49 (6): 1147-1157.

    Webster, M. S. 1992. Mating system, body size and sexual size dimorphism in New World blackbirds (Icterinae). Evolution 46: 1621-1641.

    Webster, M. S. 1991. Male parental care and polygyny in birds. American Naturalist 137: 274-280.

    Role at the Hubbard Brook:
    I have collaborated on studies of black-throated blue warblers since 1995.

    Title at Hubbard Brook:
    Principal Investigator