My research focuses primarily on combining physiology, ecology and behaviour throughout the annual-cycle in migratory birds. In particular, I am interested in the physiology underlying ecology and behaviour of bird migration. With respect to physiology, much of my work has centred on immune function. The immune system is fundamentally important for self-maintenance and promotes survival by reducing the probability of disease-related mortality, but it simultaneously incurs costs in terms of its production, maintenance and activation. This cost-benefit trade-off makes it a potentially important system in shaping the annual-cycle of birds.
During my PhD-project at the University of Groningen, I specialized on ecological physiology by focussing on links between ecology and immunology in Skylarks to gain a better ecological and evolutionary understanding of links between different annual-cycle stages in particular and of life-history evolution in general. Specifically, I shed light on physiological mechanisms shaping the annual-cycle of Skylarks. I used different approaches (e.g., observational and correlational studies, field and lab experiments), a variety of methods and techniques (from traditional behavioural observations to radio-telemetry and cutting-edge stable isotope analyses, immunological tests, and molecular analyses) and exploited the power of a fine-tuned combination of field and lab work. I defended my PhD-thesis in November 2012. Afterwards I continued this research in Groningen and worked as a PostDoc on causes and consequences of partial migration in Larks.
Here in Lund (Rubicon-PostDoc fellowship from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), I will deepen my research on the physiology underlying movement behaviour in migratory and non-migratory birds. In particular, I will investigate the role of immune function as a physiological mechanism of carry-over effects. To study these aspects I will use fine-tuned combinations of different study systems, approaches, tools and techniques throughout the annual-cycle. For my projects I will work in close collaboration with Dennis Hasselquist, Jan-Ake Nilsson, Thomas Alerstam, Rachel Muheim and others.
(fetched from Lund University's publications database)
- Are antimicrobial defences in bird eggs related to climatic conditions associated with risk of trans-shell microbial infection?
- Habitat use and diet of Skylarks (Alauda arvensis) wintering in an intensive agricultural landscape of the Netherlands
- Predators and predation rates of Skylark Alauda arvensis and Woodlark Lullula arborea nests in a semi-natural area in The Netherlands
- Immune response to an endotoxin challenge involves multiple immune parameters and is consistent among the annual-cycle stages of a free-living temperate zone bird
- Offspring pay sooner, parents pay later: experimental manipulation of body mass reveals trade-offs between immune function, reproduction and survival
- Haemosporidian infections in skylarks (Alauda arvensis): a comparative PCR-based and microscopy study on the parasite diversity and prevalence in southern Italy and the Netherlands
- Immune Indexes of Larks from Desert and Temperate Regions Show Weak Associations with Life History but Stronger Links to Environmental Variation in Microbial Abundance
- Immune function in a free-living bird varies over the annual cycle, but seasonal patterns differ between years
- Lipid composition of the stratum corneum and cutaneous water loss in birds along an aridity gradient
- The use of tongue spots for aging and wing length for sexing Skylarks Alauda arvensis - A critical evaluation
- Wild Skylarks Seasonally Modulate Energy Budgets but Maintain Energetically Costly Inflammatory Immune Responses throughout the Annual Cycle