Welcome to the Cain Lab!
Here in the Cain Lab, we are trying to understand how and why animals are so varied in their behaviour and appearance. We are particularly interested in sex differences and
females that are colourful, aggressive or sing complex songs. We're also interested in how and why these complex traits evolve.
We use an integrative approach, incorporating tools from the behaviour, physiology,
evolutionary ecology, and quantitative genetics.
Most of our work focuses on birds. But we include species from all over the world:
dark-eyed juncos in the mountains of Virginia and South Dakota, Gouldian and crimson finches in The Kimberley region of Australia, heaps of fairy-wren species all over
Australia, and some exciting new projects on New Zealand species (pukeko, rifleman, fantail, tomtit).
You can learn more about who we are on the People page and what we do on the
If you are interested in joining us, check out the NEWS & OPPORTUNITIES page.
Kristal E. Cain
Ecology, Evolution & Genetics
School of Biological Sciences
University of Auckland
All photos on this website © K Cain, contact for use.
KEYWORDS: Competitive traits, sex differences, mating systems, individual variation, testosterone, aggression, digit ratio, social selection, ornaments, armaments, female song, female weapons female ornaments colourful colorful females, animal model, sexually antagonistic selection, maternal effects, yolk hormones, 2d:4d, natural variation, opportunity for selection, natural selection, fitness, reproductive success, female-female aggression, female-female competition, Malurus, Erythrura, Maluridae, testosterone, ecological change, gonadotropin releasing hormone, GnRH, lutenizing hormone, H