Giacomo Costalunga

Giacomo Costalunga

Forschungsgruppe Rattenborg
Forschungsgruppe Vallentin
MPI für Ornithologie Seewiesen
+49 8157 932 461


Despite the mysterious function of sleep, it is considered essential for the physiological health of organisms ranging from invertebrates to humans. As humans we spend around one-third of our lives sleeping, and the quality of our nighttime sleep has a great impact on our daily performance, but yet we still have just scratched the surface of the importance of sleep. Investigating sleep dynamics in comparative terms it is fundamental to unravel how sleep evolved and specialized across the animal kingdom. Birds offer a great opportunity because they exhibit sleep states similar to mammals, even if they belong to different branches of amniotes that diverge over 300 million years ago. Moreover, birds face special ecological adaptations with specific sleep habits, as the ability to forego sleep for a 3-week period without a decline in neurobehavioral performance in males of polygynous pectoral sandpipers (Calidris melatonos). During my PhD I will investigate sleep and sleeplessness of birds in the lab and the field. In particular, I will focus on neuronal consequences and adaptations to sleeplessness, to elucidate how these behaviors evolved in the avian taxa.



·       2019 – present: PhD student, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Avian Sleep Research Group & Department of Behavioral Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics, Seewiesen, Germany

·       2018: Erasmus+ Traineeship student, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Department of Behavioral Neurobiology, Seewiesen, Germany

·       2016 – 2019: International MSc in Neuroscience, University of Trieste, Italy
(in collaboration with Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA), Trieste, Italy)

·       2013 – 2016: BSc in Biology, University of Padova, Italy

Work Experience

·       2019: Research assistant, Center for Mind/Brain Sciences (CIMeC), Animal Cognition and Neuroscience Lab, University of Trento, Italy

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