Sparrows of Mandarte

Life-histories and demography

My lab focuses on how the environment and individual influence life history trade-offs, aging and reproductive behaviors, links between behavior and fast/slow life histories, and the impacts of climate on breeding behaviors.


Every song sparrow on Mandarte Island, British Columbia has been monitored throughout its life since 1975 when Jamie Smith began work on the island. Peter Arcese took over the population in 1981 and has been monitoring it ever since. Many people have contributed to the study of song sparrows over the past 44 years and our lab is incredibly lucky to be able to work on this system. Long-term research has primarily focused on population dynamics in small populations. More recent work has focused on using the detailed social and genetic pedigree (1993 - present) to examine inbreeding and mating systems, relative effects of individual vs. habitat quality on fitness, and the impacts of fox sparrows on song sparrows.

Funding sources:

Male song sparrow, perched

Male song sparrow, perched

The field houses on Mandarte Island

Male song sparrow, singing

Male song sparrow, perchedsosp6

Male song sparrow, perched

Satellite image of Mandarte Island

Male song sparrow, perched

Profile of Mandarte Island

Male song sparrow, perched

Profile of Mandarte Island


Dr. Peter Arcese (University of British Columbia): lab website

Dr. Ryan Germain (Cornell University): research website



Werner and Hildegarde Hesse

© 2018 by Corey Tarwater. Created on the framework.

Contact information

Department of Zoology & Physiology
University of Wyoming
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071, USA

Email: corey.tarwater [at]