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Risky metabolism

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<p>It is believed that a bird's energetic reserves determine when within a day and for how long it incubates its eggs. Martin Bulla and his colleagues challenged this view for species where both parents incubate. They experimentally reduced the energetic demands of incubation by heating and insulating the nest. These treatments had no major effect on the length of incubation bouts. Their results demonstrate that the observed timing and length of incubation bouts in biparental semipalmated sandpiper are not primarily driven by energetic constraints and therefore by the state of the incubating bird. This finding implies that we still do not understand the factors driving timing and length of incubation bouts in biparentally incubating species. Image: Martin Bulla</p>
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Heating and insulating the nest had no major effect on the length of incubation bouts in sandpipers

It is believed that a bird's energetic reserves determine when within a day and for how long it incubates its eggs. Martin Bulla and his colleagues challenged this view for species where both parents incubate. They experimentally reduced the energetic demands of incubation by heating and insulating the nest. These treatments had no major effect on the length of incubation bouts. Their results demonstrate that the observed timing and length of incubation bouts in biparental semipalmated sandpiper are not primarily driven by energetic constraints and therefore by the state of the incubating bird. This finding implies that we still do not understand the factors driving timing and length of incubation bouts in biparentally incubating species. Image: Martin Bulla

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A big study of Max-Planck-researchers together with an international team shows for the first time that echolocation calls of bats are shaped not only by natural selection but also by sexual selection. Image: Stefan Greif

Listening for love in the darkness

A big study of Max-Planck-researchers together with an international team shows for the first time that echolocation calls of bats are shaped not only by natural selection but also by sexual selection. Image: Stefan Greif [more]
Dawn and dusk are two critical periods were male songbirds sing to defend their territory and their mate. The timing of dawn song is frequently regarded as a reliable indicator of male quality because in some cases it is age-related and condition-dependent. Previous work showed that artificial night lighting could modify this timing but no studies have ever investigated the influence of light pollution in parallel with another stressor associated with urbanization, i.e. noise pollution, and in comparison with natural conditions. In this study, researchers from Seewiesen have recorded 6 common European songbird species from winter to the peak of breeding season and have compared the effects of artificial light and traffic noise, not only on the onset of their dawn singing but also on the cessation of their dusk singing.

Singing under a streetlamp

Dawn and dusk are two critical periods were male songbirds sing to defend their territory and their mate. The timing of dawn song is frequently regarded as a reliable indicator of male quality because in some cases it is age-related and condition-dependent. Previous work showed that artificial night lighting could modify this timing but no studies have ever investigated the influence of light pollution in parallel with another stressor associated with urbanization, i.e. noise pollution, and in comparison with natural conditions. In this study, researchers from Seewiesen have recorded 6 common European songbird species from winter to the peak of breeding season and have compared the effects of artificial light and traffic noise, not only on the onset of their dawn singing but also on the cessation of their dusk singing. [more]
With the Animal Tracker app, you can follow the movements of wild animals all over the world that are being tracked in near-real time! You can easily participate in our scientific research projects: Upload your real-life observations and photos of our tagged animals to Animal Tracker. Your observations are crucial for our scientists! We can determine the positions of the tagged animals but we are lacking behavioral observations - we can interpret our data much better with your additional observations. <strong>Therefore: become a scientist, become an Animal Tracker!</strong>

Animal Tracker App published

With the Animal Tracker app, you can follow the movements of wild animals all over the world that are being tracked in near-real time! You can easily participate in our scientific research projects: Upload your real-life observations and photos of our tagged animals to Animal Tracker. Your observations are crucial for our scientists! We can determine the positions of the tagged animals but we are lacking behavioral observations - we can interpret our data much better with your additional observations. Therefore: become a scientist, become an Animal Tracker! [more]
The German bird watcher journal 'Der Falke' translated its 2013 special issue on bird migration into English. The whole issue with contributions of MPIO scientists Hans-G&uuml;nther Bauer, Wolfgang Fiedler, and Martin Wikeski can be downloded for free.

Special issue on bird migration

The German bird watcher journal 'Der Falke' translated its 2013 special issue on bird migration into English. The whole issue with contributions of MPIO scientists Hans-Günther Bauer, Wolfgang Fiedler, and Martin Wikeski can be downloded for free. [more]
Although the majority of bird species form a stable pair bond at least over some period of time, offspring are regularly fathered by another than the female&rsquo;s social mate. Therefore, copulations outside of the pairbond, so called extra-pair copulations, must occur regularly and dawn seems to be a critical time for them. Indeed, a study on great tits (<em>Parus major</em>) suggested that females that have extra-pair offspring emerge relatively early from their roosting place. In small, cavity-nesting passerines, the blue tits (<em>Cyanistes </em>caeruleus), researchers from the Department of Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics investigated whether early emerging blue tit females are indeed more successful in having extra-pair offspring. To do so, they combined a long-term dataset on natural female emergence times, and an experiment where the researchers exposed roosting females to additional light before sunrise thereby advancing their emergence time.

Early birds do not have more extrapair young

Although the majority of bird species form a stable pair bond at least over some period of time, offspring are regularly fathered by another than the female’s social mate. Therefore, copulations outside of the pairbond, so called extra-pair copulations, must occur regularly and dawn seems to be a critical time for them. Indeed, a study on great tits (Parus major) suggested that females that have extra-pair offspring emerge relatively early from their roosting place. In small, cavity-nesting passerines, the blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), researchers from the Department of Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics investigated whether early emerging blue tit females are indeed more successful in having extra-pair offspring. To do so, they combined a long-term dataset on natural female emergence times, and an experiment where the researchers exposed roosting females to additional light before sunrise thereby advancing their emergence time. [more]
<p>The research group &ldquo;Acoustic and Functional Ecology&rdquo; of Dr. Holger R. Goerlitz has started on March 1<sup>st</sup>, funded by a 5 year Emmy Noether award of the German Research Foundation (DFG). The group&rsquo;s research focuses on the mechanisms, ecology and evolution of sensory perception and auditory-guided behaviour, using echolocating bats and eared moths as a model system of auditory interacting predators and prey.</p>

New Research Group in Seewiesen

The research group “Acoustic and Functional Ecology” of Dr. Holger R. Goerlitz has started on March 1st, funded by a 5 year Emmy Noether award of the German Research Foundation (DFG). The group’s research focuses on the mechanisms, ecology and evolution of sensory perception and auditory-guided behaviour, using echolocating bats and eared moths as a model system of auditory interacting predators and prey.

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