Behavioural Ecology of Polygamous Shorebirds
I am an ecologist, ornithologist and polar scientist with a special interest in behavioural and evolutionary ecology. The main focus of my PhD is the evolution of mating strategies of non-monogamous shorebirds. In particular, I am currently investigating the polyandrous Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) in Utqiaġvik, Alaska. Polyandry, a social mating system where a female mates with several males within one breeding season, is a rare phenomenon that is described in less than 1% of all avian species. Combining detailed behavioural observations, paternity analysis and the newest advances in tracking technology, I try to understand the selective drivers that lead to the evolution of sex-role reversal.
Fascinated by ecology in school, I did a Bachelor of Science in ‘Biology’ and Master of Science in ‘Evolution, Ecology and Systematics’ at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena. We went for an excursion to Svalbard during the Bachelor studies, and it was there that I fell in love with polar ecosystems. I then joined the ‘Polar and Bird Ecology Group’ of Hans-Ulrich Peter, which gave me the opportunity to work on King George Island, Antarctica, for two field seasons and study the population ecology of seabirds. For my master thesis I studied the individual consistency of migration strategies in Brown Skuas (Catharacta antarctica lonnbergi) using light-level geolocation data. Since then, movement biology is one of my greatest interests.
Since 2016, I am a PhD student at the Department of Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen. My main supervisors are Bart Kempenaers and Mihai Valcu.
Behavioural & Evolutionary Ecology; Ornithology; Movement &
Spatial Ecology; Fieldwork & Programming in R