Events in Seewiesen and Radolfzell

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Martin Wikelski, director in Radolfzell, receives Max Planck Research Award

Researchers of the group "communication and social behaviour" found in a tropical bird (Zonotrichia capensis) that in places with strong noise level, birds started to sing earlier at dawn. Artificial night lighting, however, had no effect on the song behaviour. The researchers suggest that tropical birds might be less sensitive to variations in day length and thus less sensitive to light pollution.

Noise pollution makes birds sing earlier at dawn

Researchers of the group "communication and social behaviour" found in a tropical bird (Zonotrichia capensis) that in places with strong noise level, birds started to sing earlier at dawn. Artificial night lighting, however, had no effect on the song behaviour. The researchers suggest that tropical birds might be less sensitive to variations in day length and thus less sensitive to light pollution. [more]
With their project, the researchers aim to find out how conflict, cooperation and communication shape collectives. They compare an ant and spider species that both live in groups, share food and move as cohesive groups to new nest sites - however, differ in intra-group relatedness. How cooperation withstands the inherent conflict between individuals is a key question to understand the functioning of biological collectives.

Alex Jordan from the Department of Collective Behaviour and a collaborator from Israel got awarded with a three-year grant from the Minna-James-Heineman Foundation

With their project, the researchers aim to find out how conflict, cooperation and communication shape collectives. They compare an ant and spider species that both live in groups, share food and move as cohesive groups to new nest sites - however, differ in intra-group relatedness. How cooperation withstands the inherent conflict between individuals is a key question to understand the functioning of biological collectives. [more]
Descriptive studies have investigated whether artificial light drives songbirds to advance their onset of dawn song. As experimental tests of this effect in the wild were missing, it was not clear whether early singing was due to long-term behavioural changes or immediate behavioural plasticity. This is why researchers of the Department of Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics experimentally illuminated the birds‘ habitats at night in a cyclic fashion, after territory settlement of singing males. Mainly robins, but also the other three study species blackbirds, great tits, and blue tits, adjusted dawn song during the lighted nights, and returned to natural starting times during the dark nights, suggesting that behavioural plasticity is an important component of the birds response to artificial night lighting.

Behavioural plasticity behind early singing: an experimental test with artificial light

Descriptive studies have investigated whether artificial light drives songbirds to advance their onset of dawn song. As experimental tests of this effect in the wild were missing, it was not clear whether early singing was due to long-term behavioural changes or immediate behavioural plasticity. This is why researchers of the Department of Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics experimentally illuminated the birds‘ habitats at night in a cyclic fashion, after territory settlement of singing males. Mainly robins, but also the other three study species blackbirds, great tits, and blue tits, adjusted dawn song during the lighted nights, and returned to natural starting times during the dark nights, suggesting that behavioural plasticity is an important component of the birds response to artificial night lighting.

[more]
On Feb. 18, Prof. Dr. Horst Mittelstaedt passed away. He was director at the MPI for Behavioural Physiology in Seewiesen for more than 31 years. His research focused on the principles and mechanisms of information processing in organisms and cybernetic behavioural analysis.

Horst Mittelstaedt *1923 +2016

On Feb. 18, Prof. Dr. Horst Mittelstaedt passed away. He was director at the MPI for Behavioural Physiology in Seewiesen for more than 31 years. His research focused on the principles and mechanisms of information processing in organisms and cybernetic behavioural analysis.
Ravens use their social bonds to avoid conflicts. If there was only a limited amount of food, socially bonded ravens fed close to each other. Furthermore, socially bonded individuals provided third-party affiliation to victims of aggression during feeding. This is what Miriam Sima and Simone Pika of the Humboldt-Research Group found out together with a colleague in Vienna by studying the behavior of ravens during and after a conflict. It was initiated by presenting one or two pieces of highly preferred pork meet or, as a control, small pieces matching the number of participating birds.

Conflict management behaviour in ravens

Ravens use their social bonds to avoid conflicts. If there was only a limited amount of food, socially bonded ravens fed close to each other. Furthermore, socially bonded individuals provided third-party affiliation to victims of aggression during feeding. This is what Miriam Sima and Simone Pika of the Humboldt-Research Group found out together with a colleague in Vienna by studying the behavior of ravens during and after a conflict. It was initiated by presenting one or two pieces of highly preferred pork meet or, as a control, small pieces matching the number of participating birds. [more]
Niels Dingemanse, head of the research group Evolutionary Ecology of Variation in Seewiesen is one of the „Highly Cited Researchers 2015“, a list issued by Thomson Reuters, an international media and information concern. The citation records on which the analysis is based are drawn from the Web of Science, which monitors how often research papers are cited by scientists other than their authors. Only the top 1% of the most highly cited papers in a given field for a given year were considered. Congratulations, Niels!

Niels Dingemanse: one of the highly cited researchers 2015 (list of Thomson Reuters)

Niels Dingemanse, head of the research group Evolutionary Ecology of Variation in Seewiesen is one of the „Highly Cited Researchers 2015“, a list issued by Thomson Reuters, an international media and information concern. The citation records on which the analysis is based are drawn from the Web of Science, which monitors how often research papers are cited by scientists other than their authors. Only the top 1% of the most highly cited papers in a given field for a given year were considered. Congratulations, Niels!

[more]
Our Humboldt Research Group just started a new study "Milestones of Language" to investigate the development of communication in children at the age of 0 to 24 months. Everybody interested may participate in the online-survey and record the communicative abilities of the child by filling out a development calendar.

Citizen Science Project: Milestones of language

Our Humboldt Research Group just started a new study "Milestones of Language" to investigate the development of communication in children at the age of 0 to 24 months. Everybody interested may participate in the online-survey and record the communicative abilities of the child by filling out a development calendar. [more]
MPIO PhD student Sherub received a prestigious environment award in Bhutan for his documentation and recording of the incredible bird diversity in Bhutan.

PhD student Sherub awarded in Bhutan

MPIO PhD student Sherub received a prestigious environment award in Bhutan for his documentation and recording of the incredible bird diversity in Bhutan. [more]
The list of animal species you can follow with the Animal Tracker increased considerably. New species are:Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures, Himalayan Griffon Vultures, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Black Storks, Bald Eagles, Whooper Swans, and our first mammal species:Black Flying Foxes!Often requested, now implemented: search and filter features!

New Animal Tracker features and species

The list of animal species you can follow with the Animal Tracker increased considerably. New species are:Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures, Himalayan Griffon Vultures, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Black Storks, Bald Eagles, Whooper Swans, and our first mammal species:Black Flying Foxes!
Often requested, now implemented: search and filter features! [more]
The PhD-student of the Department of Behavioural Neurobiology explains her research in a short video "in search of singing genes" in an entertaining and understandible way and wins therefore the first science slam of the MPIO - congratulations!

Maggie Ko won Science Slam during the Grand Challenges Symposium

The PhD-student of the Department of Behavioural Neurobiology explains her research in a short video "in search of singing genes" in an entertaining and understandible way and wins therefore the first science slam of the MPIO - congratulations!
Buteo-morph is a hand-on-project of our institute for all interested bird observers: Data is collected throughout whole Europe on the geographical and temporary differences in the distribution of the various morph-types in the common buzzard.

Citizen Science project on plumage colour polymorphism of common buzzards

Buteo-morph is a hand-on-project of our institute for all interested bird observers: Data is collected throughout whole Europe on the geographical and temporary differences in the distribution of the various morph-types in the common buzzard. [more]
 
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