R.I.P. Barry Sinervo

I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Barry Sinervo. Barry was a biology professor at the University of California Santa Cruz. His work on behavioral variation in side-blotched lizards was so exciting and his findings always made their way into the classes I taught, whether it be about frequency dependent selection, genetic underpinnings of behavior and super genes, green beard-type effects, etc.

One of the biggest thrills of my career was to get to collaborate with Barry, albeit indirectly. A graduate school colleague, Shawn Kuchta, conducted postdoctoral research with Barry. Shawn was investigating selection on color patterns in Enstatina salamanders. We worked together on one of his experiments. I was the “bird guy” who helped catch and temporarily house scrub and steller’s jays to test their aversion to one of the salamander color morphs that was thought to mimic the extremely toxic newts (it does!).

After our work together, I was invited by another professor to come down to UCSC and give a seminar, and was finally able to meet Barry. What a joy to get to sit down with him! Even though his main systems were reptiles and amphibians, he was full of questions about my work with turkeys and sage-grouse. He is leaving a huge legacy in his work, students, colleges, and more.

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