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CAnMove Seminar - Niels Rattenborg, Max Planck Insitute


Welcom to a CAnMove-seminar with Niels Rattenborg, head of the Avian Sleep research group at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology.

Title: Adaptive Sleep Loss in Birds


Abstract: Sleep is a prominent part of an animal’s daily life. Most theories for the function of sleep suggest that it plays a role in maintaining adaptive waking performance, although exactly how remains debated. Sleep might restore brain resources depleted during wakefulness, repair damage resulting from wakefulness, remove toxins that accumulate during wakefulness, and strengthen of weaken synapses formed during wakefulness. Regardless of which theory is correct, all are based on the observation that waking performance on a variety of cognitive tasks declines as sleep loss accumulates. Despite this overwhelming evidence, several birds engage in periods of elevated activity that seemingly leave little time for sleep. In this seminar, I will summarize recent work showing that birds have an unprecedented ability to maintain adaptive performance despite forgoing large amounts of sleep. Determining how birds are able to circumvent the drive to sleep may provide insight into the functions of sleep and the impact that its loss has on waking performance.


Biosketch: Niels C. Rattenborg, PhD

Niels Rattenborg is currently the leader of the Avian Sleep Group at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology – Seewiesen, Germany. Rattenborg received his undergraduate degree in psychology at Washington University – St. Louis in 1986. After working for 10 years in human sleep medicine clinics, he returned to graduate school and received his PhD on avian sleep from Indiana State University in 1999. Following a post-doc at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Rattenborg started his independent research group in Seewiesen in 2005.


Selected Readings:

Rattenborg NC, de la Iglesia HO, Kempenaers B, Lesku JA, Meerlo P, Scriba MF. 2017 Sleep research goes wild: new methods and approaches to investigate the ecology, evolution, and functions of sleep. Phil Trans Roy Soc B, in press.

Rattenborg NC. 2017 Sleeping on the wing. Interface Focus 7, 20160082.

Rattenborg NC, Voirin B, Cruz SM, Tisdale R, Dell’Omo G, Lipp H-P, Wikelski M, Vyssotski AL. 2016 Evidence that birds sleep in mid-flight. Nat Comms 7, 12468.

Lesku JA, Rattenborg NC, Valcu M, Vyssotski AL, Kuhn S, Kuemmeth F, Heidrich W, Kempenaers B. 2012 Adaptive sleep loss in polygynous pectoral sandpipers. Science 337, 1654-1658.

9 May 2017 14:00 to 15:00
Röda Rummet

About the event

9 May 2017 14:00 to 15:00
Röda Rummet

Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden