In a blog reflecting old papers in ecology and evolution through interviews with their authors, Hari Sridhar recently revisited a paper of Bart Kempenaers et al. from 1992, published in the journal Nature. He interviewed our director about his motivation for doing this work, how this collaboration came about and what we have learnt about extra-pair paternity since then.

Interview with Bart Kempenaers about a paper published more than 25 years ago in the journal Nature

In a blog reflecting old papers in ecology and evolution through interviews with their authors, Hari Sridhar recently revisited a paper of Bart Kempenaers et al. from 1992, published in the journal Nature. He interviewed our director about his motivation for doing this work, how this collaboration came about and what we have learnt about extra-pair paternity since then.
Scientists from the German-Russian animal observation system Icarus have equipped 30 mammal species in Namibia with electronic ear tags. These include elephants, different species of antelopes, wildebeest, giraffes, zebras and leopards. The test phase for the Icarus observation system, which will span the whole Earth, is due to start in  2019. This was preceded by Russian cosmonauts installing the Icarus antenna on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS) and connecting it to the on-board computer in mid-August 2018.

Protecting mammals in Africa through observations from space

Scientists from the German-Russian animal observation system Icarus have equipped 30 mammal species in Namibia with electronic ear tags. These include elephants, different species of antelopes, wildebeest, giraffes, zebras and leopards. The test phase for the Icarus observation system, which will span the whole Earth, is due to start in  2019. This was preceded by Russian cosmonauts installing the Icarus antenna on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS) and connecting it to the on-board computer in mid-August 2018.
Niels Rattenborg, leader of the Avian Sleep Group at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, was recently interviewed by Current Biology. Rattenborg discusses how he came to study sleep in birds in the wild, and why he thinks this research can help us to understand sleep in other animals, including ourselves.

Q&A in Current Biology: Interview with Niels Rattenborg

Niels Rattenborg, leader of the Avian Sleep Group at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, was recently interviewed by Current Biology. Rattenborg discusses how he came to study sleep in birds in the wild, and why he thinks this research can help us to understand sleep in other animals, including ourselves.
Iain Couzin, director of the department Collective Behaviour and Professor at the University of Konstanz, has been named in the annual Highly Cited Researchers 2018 List. Now in its fifth year, the list by Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thompson Reuters) recognizes researchers whose citation records position them in the highest ranks of influence and impact as determined by their peers around the globe. Congratulations!

Iain Couzin is on Clarivate Analytics list of highly cited researchers 2018

Iain Couzin, director of the department Collective Behaviour and Professor at the University of Konstanz, has been named in the annual Highly Cited Researchers 2018 List. Now in its fifth year, the list by Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thompson Reuters) recognizes researchers whose citation records position them in the highest ranks of influence and impact as determined by their peers around the globe. Congratulations!
An international group of researchers including scientists from Seewiesen used novel miniature tags to study foraging strategies in five bat species. By analyzing high resolution GPS tracks together with the bats' acoustic behaviour, they showed that social foraging is driven by resource distribution: When searching for food that is only available very locally and for a limited time, it pays to fly out in a group and thus increase the chance of finding it.

Resource ephemerality drives social foraging in bats

An international group of researchers including scientists from Seewiesen used novel miniature tags to study foraging strategies in five bat species. By analyzing high resolution GPS tracks together with the bats' acoustic behaviour, they showed that social foraging is driven by resource distribution: When searching for food that is only available very locally and for a limited time, it pays to fly out in a group and thus increase the chance of finding it.
Tropical birds generally encounter relatively lesser seasonality in the environment than temperate species. Nevertheless, male silver-beaked tanagers perform a dawn-song behavior seasonally, aligned to minimal increases in day length. Researchers of the Department of Neurobiology and a colleague from the University of Konstanz studied the variation in the use of dietary sources over a year and found that stable carbon, nitrogen and sulfur isotope values for feathers indicate no major changes in the foraging ecology. This was accompanied by uniform levels of corticosterone throughout the year, probably associated with the absence of drastic seasonal resource shortages. Testosterone production of males was increased during the dry season, suggesting that male silver-beaked tanagers undergo seasonal reproductive cycles.

Seasonality at the equator

Tropical birds generally encounter relatively lesser seasonality in the environment than temperate species. Nevertheless, male silver-beaked tanagers perform a dawn-song behavior seasonally, aligned to minimal increases in day length. Researchers of the Department of Neurobiology and a colleague from the University of Konstanz studied the variation in the use of dietary sources over a year and found that stable carbon, nitrogen and sulfur isotope values for feathers indicate no major changes in the foraging ecology. This was accompanied by uniform levels of corticosterone throughout the year, probably associated with the absence of drastic seasonal resource shortages. Testosterone production of males was increased during the dry season, suggesting that male silver-beaked tanagers undergo seasonal reproductive cycles.
From October 11-13, 2018, active and former PhD students of our IMPRS for Organismal Biology met in Berlin. Career planning and options were among the topics discussed, as well as the support of the MPS for early career researchers and alumni.

IMPRS symposium for current students and alumni

From October 11-13, 2018, active and former PhD students of our IMPRS for Organismal Biology met in Berlin. Career planning and options were among the topics discussed, as well as the support of the MPS for early career researchers and alumni.


Press releases

No egg is like another

January 04, 2019

Little more than fifty years after the German ornithologist Wolfgang Makatsch published his book entitled “No egg is like another” (Kein Ei gleicht dem anderen), new research at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in collaboration with the Max ...

New Caledonian crows can create compound tools

October 24, 2018

An international team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany, and the University of Oxford have revealed that New Caledonian crows are able to create tools by combining two or more otherwise non-functional ...

Couples showing off: Songbirds are more passionate in front of an audience

October 03, 2018

Both sexes of a songbird called the blue-capped cordon-bleu intensify courtship performances in the presence of an audience. They sing and sometimes perform a kind of tap dance, especially if it is a member of the opposite sex is present, an ...

Parrots think in economic terms

September 01, 2018

Sometimes, it pays to wait – for example when it comes to choosing between an immediate, but small, reward and a greater reward at a future date. Parrots have clearly grasped this concept: true to the motto “better a bird in the hand than two in the ...

Spacewalk for Icarus

August 15, 2018

On 15 August 2018, the two Russian cosmonauts Sergei Valeriyevich Prokopyev and Oleg Germanovich Artemyev unfolded the Icarus antenna on the International Space Station (ISS). This was the highlight of their extravehicular activity, which saw them ...

Brood failure in blue tits

June 12, 2018

Complete brood failure in blue tits is almost always associated with the sudden and permanent disappearance of one of the parents. Peter Santema and Bart Kempenaers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen show in their study that ...

Institute seminar series in Seewiesen

Giorgio F. Gilestro, Imperial College London: A tale of sleepless flies. How Drosophila changes what we know about sleep

Feb 7, 2019 13:00 - 14:00
Seewiesen, Room: Seminar Room House 4, Tea & Coffee 12:30h

Kate Buchanan, Deakin University: Effects of early life on vocal communication

Feb 14, 2019 13:00 - 14:00
Seewiesen, Room: Seminar Room House 4, Tea & Coffee 12:30h

Peter Teglberg Madsen, Aarhus University: Functional convergence in bat and toothed whale echolocation

Feb 21, 2019 13:00 - 14:00
Seewiesen, Room: Seminar Room House 4, Tea & Coffee 12:30h

Katja Nowick, FU Berlin: Human Evolution: How Gene Regulatory Factors and their networks might have shaped human specific phenotypes

Feb 28, 2019 13:00 - 14:00
Seewiesen, Room: Seminar Room House 4, Tea & Coffee 12:30h

Timothy J. Greives, North Dakota State University: Mechanisms and importance of timing in a constantly changing world

Mar 14, 2019 13:00 - 14:00
Seewiesen, Room: Seminar Room House 4, Tea & Coffee 12:30h

Jesse Barber, Boise State University: The importance of sensory ecology in shaping behavior and evolution

Mar 21, 2019 13:00 - 14:00
Seewiesen, Room: Seminar Room House 4, Tea & Coffee 12:30h

Multimedia


Icarus – on the move with animals

Icarus – on the move with animals

Video

The animals of our planet are constantly in motion – some may fly, swim, or migrate thousands of kilometers; others move just a few hundred metres. They all have one thing in common, however: little is known about their journeys. Icarus should change this in the next years. By increasing our knowledge about animal migration, we can learn more about the state of our planet.

Evolution - lohnende Seitensprünge

Evolution: Extra-pair paternity in blue tits (in German)

Video

The choice of the perfect partner is also important for blue tits. A good teamwork is required, as up to 10 hungry chicks have to be fed simultaneously. But do they have to live together in a faithful partnership for that? And is this really the best strategy for reproductive success?

Youtuber "MrWissen2Go" zu Besuch in Seewiesen

Youtuber "MrWissen2Go" visits Seewiesen (in German)

Video

Youtuber "MrWissenToGo" Mirko Drotschmann visited Seewiesen to talk with Manfred Gahr about why birds sing - or not.

Career and Equal opportunities at the institute


Karriere und Chancengleichheit

Career and Equal opportunity

Here you find information about working at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen and Radolfzell/Konstanz.

Job Offers

Head of Administration

January 16, 2019
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