SQuID (Statistical Quantification of Individual Differences) is an international group working to develop simulation models of multi-level variation in phenotypes. We have two goals: 1) to assess how various real-world sampling issues influence patterns of variation, including among-individual (for behavior, personality) variance in single traits and within- and among-individual covariances among multiple traits. 2) to develop a web-based interactive tutorial for investigators seeking to learn more about statistical quantification of individual differences. Code is being written as you read this! From left to right, front to back, in picture: Sinichi Nakagawa, Yimen Araya-Ajoy, Holger Schielzeth, Hassen Allegue, Laszlo Garamszegi, Ned Dochtermann, Niels Dingemanse, Denis Reale, and yours truly (MPIO, Nov. 2014).
Jonathan Wright, Ph.D., NTNU, Norway
Jon Wright is interested in parental care and cooperative breeding in birds. A fortuitous stay at his house in 2010 has lead to interactions on multiple projects, including broad conceptual explorations of the phenotypic equation and empirical analyses of variance patterns in several bird species.
Jon's web page
Niels Dingemanse, Ph.D., MPIO, Germany
I met Neils through Jon Wright who helped arrange a joint visit to MPIO in 2011. We hit it off immediately (while searching futilely for capercaillie and wallcreeper), and began working together with Jon on exploring the conceptual consequences of the phenotypic equation. I am now talking with him about several projects concerning statistical analysis of phenotypes, and we are both part of SQuID (see below).
Neil's web page
Ian R. K. Stewart, Ph.D., University of Delaware
Ian has worked with me on house sparrows since 1995. He has a strong interest in all things avian, and was instrumental in developing and maintaining the sparrow field study up through 2010. Currently we are analyzing a variety of long-term datasets on reproductive performance in the free-living birds, as well as some experiments on plumage development and status-signaling in aviaries.
Simon Bonner, Ph.D., Statistics, University of Kentucky
Simon's expertise is ecological statistics, and he is guiding my lab through statistical techniques for modeling means and variances simultaneously. Called "double GLM" we are exploring the use of this technique for assessing heterogeneous residual variances in parental care. One intriguing hypothesis we would like to test is if parents can assess variance in prey distributions and choose foraging locations that either minimize or maximize variance depending on offspring condition.
Becky is a Co-PI on my current NSF grant. She is interested in personality in response to novelty, and the hormonal underpinnings of both personality and plasticity. She is doing experiments on sparrows in captivity and in the field, and helping me provide additional opportunities for research to undergraduates.
Britt Heidinger, Ph. D. North Dakota State University
Britt has started a study of house sparrows in Fargo, ND where she is investigating how stress may have cross-generational effects via several mechanisms, including effects on telomere lengths. We are collaborating on analyses of my long-term study in Kentucky using our catalog of samples from parents and offspring. The coolest idea we hope to test is the possibility of Lamarckian inheritance of telomere length. Stress on parents may affect loss rate of telomere lengths in both somatic and possibly germ cells. The latter would influence telomere length in offspring, and this may affect offspring performance. We just learned (Dec. 2016) that NSF will fund our work for 4 years!