Andrew McAdam headshot
Associate Professor • EBIO Department Chair • Ph.D, University of Alberta, 2003

Ramaley C309

Research Interests

I am an evolutionary ecologist interested in contemporary natural selection and microevolution in wild animals.  A major goal of the research in my lab is to examine the ecological circumstances associated with short-term evolutionary changes. Social interactions between family members and neighbors often have important consequences for individual phenotypes and fitness, so my lab is currently particularly interested in maternal effects and other social effects on adaptation in nature.

I pursue these research goals by studying systems that are simple enough to identify and manipulate key ecological agents of evolutionary change, while still maintaining the inherent complexities of evolution in the natural world.  Much of the research in my group has been part of a collaborative, long-term study of wild red squirrels in the Yukon Territory of Canada (, but we have also studied deer mice, an invasive zooplankton species (Bythotrephes longimanus), fruit flies, and will soon start some laboratory research on Syrian hamsters.


Selected Publications


McAdam, A. G., S. Boutin, B. Dantzer, J. E. Lane, and M. M. Humphries. 2019. Seed masting causes fluctuations in optimum litter size and lag load in a seed predator. The American Naturalist 194: 574-589. DOI: 10.1086/703743


Fisher, D. N., J. A. Haines, S. Boutin, B. Dantzer, J. E. Lane, M. M. Humphries, D. W. Coltman, and A. G. McAdam.  2019. Indirect effects on fitness between individuals that have never met via an extended phenotype. Ecology Letters 22: 697-706. DOI: 10.1111/ele.13230


Siracusa, E. R., D. R. Wilson, E. K. Studd, S. Boutin, M. M. Humphries, B. Dantzer, J. E. Lane, and A. G. McAdam. 2019. Red squirrels mitigate costs of territory defence through social plasticity. Animal Behaviour. 151: 29-42. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.02.014.


Fisher, D. N., S. Boutin, B. Dantzer, M. M. Humphries, J. E. Lane, and A. G. McAdam. 2017. Multilevel and sex-specific selection on competitive traits in North American red squirrels. Evolution 71: 1841-1854. DOI: 10.1111/evo.13270


Betini, G. S., A. G. McAdam, C. K. Griswold, and D. R. Norris. 2017. A fitness trade-off between seasons causes multigenerational cycles in
 phenotype and population size. eLife DOI: 10.7554/eLife.18770


Taylor, R. W., S. Boutin, M. M. Humphries, J. C. Gorrell, D. W. Coltman, and A. G. McAdam. 2014. Selection on female behaviour fluctuates with offspring environment. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 27: 2308-2321. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12495


Miehls, A. L. J., S. D. Peacor and A. G. McAdam. 2014. Gape-limited predators as agents of selection on the defensive morphology of an invasive invertebrate. Evolution 68 (9): 2633-2643. doi: 10.1111/evo.12472


Stewart, F. E. C. and A. G. McAdam. 2014. Seasonal plasticity of maternal behaviour in Peromyscus maniculatus gracilis. Behaviour 151 (11): 1641-1662.


McAdam, A. G., D. Garant, and A. J. Wilson. 2014. The effects of others' genes: maternal and other indirect genetic effects. In Quantitative Genetics in the Wild.  Oxford University Press.


Dantzer, B., A. E. M. Newman, R. Boonstra, R. Palme, S. Boutin, M. M. Humphries, and A. G. McAdam. 2013. Density triggers maternal hormones that increase adaptive offspring growth in a wild mammal.  Science 340: 1215-1217.