Prof. Dr. Bart Kempenaers

Scientific Member / Director
Department Kempenaers
IMPRS Faculty
MPI for Ornithology Seewiesen
+49 8157 932-334

Main Focus

I am a behavioural ecologist and ornithologist. My main interest is the evolution of avian mating behaviour. I want to understand how males and females choose a mate. How do they sample potential partners? Which criteria do they use to decide to mate with a particular individual? How do they benefit from their choice? Why do they divorce? I want to understand why some individuals, and in particular females, are unfaithful to their partner. How common are extra-pair copulations? Which females seek them? Which criteria do females use to choose an extra-pair partner? How do these females benefit? How does promiscuity influence sexual selection? I want to understand the causes of variation in individual mating behaviour. Can variation in mating behaviour be linked to variation in personality traits? Is mating behaviour condition-dependent or is the variation maintained through frequency-dependent selection?

I am a field biologist. I am coordinating two long-term field studies: one on a common European songbird, the blue tit Parus caeruleus, and one on arctic-breeding shorebirds, the semipalmated sandpiper Calidris pusilla and the pectoral sandpiper Calidris melanotos. 

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Curriculum Vitae

Born in 1967 in Belgium, I studied Biology at the Universities of Limburg and Antwerp until 1989. I finished my PhD at the University of Antwerp in 1994 and held post-doctoral positions at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO, 1994) and at Queen's University, Canada (1995). From 1996 to 1998, I was employed as a researcher at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Comparative Ethology in Vienna. I first came to the Max Planck Institute in Seewiesen in 1999 as an Independent Junior Research Group Leader and became Director of the Department in December 2003. In 2004, I was appointed Honorary Professor in Behavioural Ecology at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich where I teach courses in behavioural ecology

Behavioural Ecology
Lecture series at the LMU, Biozentrum, Martinsried: Wintersemester 05/06
In collaboration with Prof. Dr. Susanne Foitzik
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