Prof. Blair Wolf
Prof. Blair O. Wolf
Arizona State University, 1996
Castetter Hall 188
United States of America
Tel: + 1 505 277 4122
Blair Wolf is a professor of biology at the University of New Mexico. His research focuses on the physiological ecology of vertebrates - he is interested in how complex thermal environments and heat stress affect the thermoregulation, energetics, and water balance of birds and mammals. For animals living in hot environments, day-to-day life requires significant amounts of water, and when it is really hot, birds must evaporate large quantities of water to maintain body temperature below lethal levels. Understanding the capacities of birds to cope with increased heat stress in a warming world is a prerequisite for understanding their survival and persistence in the future.
Our most recent work on reproduction in arid zone birds has demonstrated that even ecologically similar species often vary greatly in their response to warming and drought. Over a seven-year period, increasing air temperatures and drought in central New Mexico produced severe declines (90%) in a Burrowing Owl population while the sympatric Loggerhead Shrike population increased by 30%. Interestingly, reproduction advanced by almost 30 days in shrikes, but was delayed by more than 14 days in owls. Both species show decreases in reproductive success with higher air temperatures and drought, with higher predation pressure (snakes and coyotes) on the open cup nests of shrikes and food limitation driving reproductive failures in owls.
Prof. Amanda Ridley
Prof. Amanda Ridley
Centre for Evolutionary Biology
The University of Western Australia (M092)
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley WA, 6009
Tel: +61 8 6488 3740
I have been collecting data on the causes and consequences of cooperative behaviour in pied babblers since 2003. My current primary interests are: the causes of variation in contributions to cooperative care, the short- and long-term consequences of helping behaviour (to both the helper and the individual being helped), and how to measure the cost of help. Additionally, I am interested in sexual selection and how that operates in a cooperative species where sexual monogamy prevails and breeding spaces are extremely limited. Specifically, I aim to determine the importance of mate versus rival assessment, and how mate quality affects dispersal and eviction patterns in cooperative species.
An additional aspect of my research involves understanding interspecific interactions and communication. Originally I started investigating these interactions between pied babblers and fork-tailed drongos. More recently, I have begun investigating interspecific interactions in scimitar-bills, yellow-billed hornbills and wattled starlings. The recent arrival of brood parasitism in our study population has caused me to be intensely interested in the relationship between a brood parasite and its cooperative host, and this research is planned for the next few years.
With the help of a new research grant, I am beginning research on understanding long-term population dynamics in cooperative species, including factors that promote the expansion or extinction of groups. I will be using the long-term datasets of Arabian and pied babblers to determine the influence of climatic changes (heatwaves and droughts) on social dynamics at both the group and population level
Prof. Cedric Sueur
Cédric Sueur is Associate Professor (Maître de Conférences) at the University of Strasbourg since 2011. He is mainly working on animal behaviour and specifically on social networking and decision-making in animal groups at the Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien (Département d’Ecologie, Physiologie, Ethologie). He got the Young Scientist Award from the French Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Cédric Sueur is at the head of a network entitled “Social Network Analysis in Animal Societies” (SNAAS).
Prof. Cedric Sueur
Department Ecology, Physiology and Ethology
IPHC - UMR 7178, CNRS-UDS
23 rue Becquerel
67087 Strasbourg Cedex 2
Tel : +33 3 88 10 74 52
Prof. William Karasov
Prof. William Karasov
Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology
Faculty Director of BioHouse, a residential learning community
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI 53706
Professor Karasov’s undergraduate education in Biology was at University of Minnesota (1971-1975), and he was in graduate school in Biology at University of California, Los Angeles (U.C.L.A. 1975-1981), where he received his Ph.D. From 1980-1984 he was a postdoctoral associate in the Physiology Department at U.C.L.A. In 1985 he came to UW-Madison, where he is currently a Professor. His primary campus home is in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, where he was Chairman 2009-2015. Professor Karasov is interested in physiological ecology - how physiological concepts and methods can advance ecological knowledge and the application of knowledge to ecological management issues. His particular interests are vertebrates and the ecological implications of how they process energy, nutrients, and toxins. He is author/coauthor of >200 peer-reviewed articles (view at Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=wyf8CmIAAAAJ), 18 chapters in books, including Handbook of Physiology/Comprehensive Physiology, and he co-authored with Carlos Martinez del Rio of Physiological Ecology: How Animals Process Energy, Nutrients, and Toxins. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2007. He is a former National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator (1985-1991), Fulbright Fellow (1997), Visiting Professor at University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa (2016-2017), and an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Prof. Mark Brigham
Prof. R. Mark Brigham
Co-Editor Canadian Journal of Zoology
Department of Biology - University of Regina
Regina, SK S4S 0A2 CANADA
I am a Professor in Biology at the University of Regina in 1990. My research focuses on the behaviour and ecology of bats and nightjars. My students are addressing questions about the context in which these animals use metabolic depression (torpor and hibernation) to save energy when food availability is low. I have authored over 175 papers in peer-reviewed journals. In 2006, I received the Gerrit S. Miller Jr. Award from the North American Symposium on Bat Research for outstanding service and contributions to Chiropteran Biology.
Aside from formal teaching, I am a strong proponent of bringing Science and my research to the public. They ultimately fund that research and Universities in general. I regularly (10-20 times per year) give "bat talks" to school groups, naturalists organizations, service clubs, and in Provincial Parks. Bats provide perfect vehicles for popular talks as they are often misunderstood by people and thus can be used to make a case for why apparently "esoteric" research can have an important impact. Partly for this, I was given the 2008 Joseph Grinnell Award by the American Society of Mammalogists for contributions to Education about Mammalogy. I am currently the co-editor of the Canadian Journal of Zoology.
Prof. Phoebe Barnard
Prof. Phoebe Barnard
Executive Director, Pacific Biodiversity Institute, and Affiliate (full) Professor at the University of Washington, Bothell, USA
Honorary research associate at the FitzPatrick Institute.
Phoebe started the Fitz’s climate change vulnerability and adaptation program (2006-2016) and its fynbos endemics vulnerability program (2008-2016). She works on why some species are more vulnerable to environmental change than others, what birds can tell us about ecosystem health and human well-being, how species move across fragmented landscapes in response to global change, and how we can help them persist through the next few tough centuries. Her joint UCT/SANBI international research team on global change and conservation biology of fynbos endemics, now run by Alan Lee and Susie Cunningham, used behavioural, evolutionary, population, molecular and stress ecology in order to understand bird vulnerability in real-life and virtual landscapes.
Phoebe’s other interests are big-picture: using science and citizen science to support wise public policy, planning and management, understanding the status and trends of ecosystems, how the economy can be reframed to maximize conservation and minimize climate change, and how to trigger sustainability tipping points of human behaviour, institutions and society.
Dr. Rowan Martin
Rowan’s research interests lie in the fields of behavioural ecology and conservation, specifically understanding the evolutionary and ecological drivers of behaviour, and the implications of behavior for the persistence of populations. Rowan completed his Ph.D. at the University of Sheffield where he studied the drivers of mating systems and breeding behavior in the globally-threatened Yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot. He moved to the Fitz and joined the Hot birds project in 2009 as a DST/NRF Centre of Excellence Post-doctoral Fellow. He currently holds a position as the director of the World Parrot Trust’s Africa Conservation Programme but maintains close links with the Hot birds project as a Research Associate of the Fitz and continues to collaborate and co-supervise postgraduate students.
Dr. Rowan O. Martin
Dr. Ben Smit
Dr. Ben Smit
Department of Zoology and Entomology
Life Sciences Building
Barratt Complex, African St
Early in 2009, I registered for my Ph.D. in Zoology, under supervision of Prof. Andrew McKechnie, University of Pretoria, and Prof. Phil Hockey, Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town. That year marked the start of an exciting and fulfilling research career; I was part of the team that initiated "Hotbirds" physiology and behaviour research projects in the Kalahari, focusing of both behavioural, physiological and ecological aspects.
From 2013 to 2017 I was employed at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University where I started collaborating on Fynbos and Karoo "Hotbirds" projects, with a strong aim on some of the Fynbos endemics, such as Cape Rockjumpers and Cape Sugarbirds.
I am currently employed at Rhodes University where I am
developing a research program to address the importance of thermal physiology in shaping endotherm performance and physiological traits. I am particularly interested in the role of these traits in climate adaptation. A key question of my research is to determine how current and/or historical environmental factors, as well as evolutionary history, influence the physiological traits of thermoregulation, and energy- and water balance in vertebrates. To address these questions, and others involving environmental selective pressures, my research integrates physiological, behavioural and ecological factors on an individual, population and community level.
Dr. Alan Lee
Dr. Alan Tristram Kenneth Lee
B.Sc. Hons (Witwatersrand, RSA), Dip Comp (Open, UK), Ph.D. (Manchester Metropolitan, UK)
Post-Doc (FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology)
Blue Hill Escape Nature Reserve
Tel: +27 (0)44 752 1254
Alan’s interest in hot birds started at an early age when the chicken that his mother was microwaving exploded. Since many other chickens that had been subject to the same treatment had not exploded, it appeared that not all birds react to temperature in the same way. Unable to obtain ethical permission or volunteers to undertake research into the impacts of extreme temperatures on physiology, he has subjected himself to temperature extremes including camping at high altitude in the snow in Andorra, Chile and Iceland. An extended period of time enduring the mild but damp conditions of England proved not-very-challenging and so to test the other extreme of the temperature range he cycled across the Chaco desert with limited water (not to be recommended as a recreational or survival activity) and spent extended periods of time in the humid hot conditions of the Amazon. He now experiences wild temperature extremes daily by living in the mountain Fynbos on the eastern edges of the Klein Karoo where temperatures swing from below zero to above 30 within days of each other. He is a useful member of the Hot Birds team as he is too dumb to realize that what he does, most other people would never do. He still does not understand why the chicken exploded, and will not rest until the mystery has been suitably solved. Apparently this may be some time, but we are told the information being collected on Fynbos birds and other aspects of the ecology of the Fynbos are proving useful in the meantime.
On a more serious note, Alan is also editor-in-chief of Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology; a contract data scientist to BirdLife South Africa and the IUCN; and proprietor of Blue Hill Escape on the Blue Hill Nature Reserve, where much of the Fynbos birds research is conducted.
Dr. Lisa Nupen
Dr. Lisa Nupen
Organisation for Tropical Studies (OTS),
Kruger National Park,
My interests span conservation biology and molecular ecology, especially the various applications of genetic and genomic techniques in solving conservation problems. I have worked on research projects inter alia investigating gene flow in marine ecosystems, aspects of mammalian diversity, restoration ecology, avian biology, reptilian population dynamics, and the floral and faunal rehabilitation of disturbed areas. I find natural world endlessly fascinating and love being outdoors. I work primarily on evolutionary patterns and processes in birds and mammals, and how these are best conserved through systematic conservation planning approaches – especially in an African context. I have strong interests in wildlife genetics, conservation breeding and disease ecology.
Alongside my work with the Hot Birds Project and the FitzPatrick Institute, I am a resident lecturer with the Organisation for Tropical Studies in Kruger National Park, which allows me to combine my passion for science-based conservation with fieldwork and knowledge-sharing. Over the course of my travels, studies and teaching, I have learned to appreciate the complexities of measuring and valuing biodiversity, and appreciate the importance of local communities benefitting from conservation programmes. I believe that hands-on in situ field-time and learning is the best way to effectively impart the necessary knowledge and skills to future natural scientists and conservation leaders.
Dr. Janet Gardner
Janet started her career working in applied conservation research before moving to Canberra to complete her Ph.D. at the Australian National University in 2003. Subsequently she worked at the ANU as an Associate Lecturer, then as a Research Associate focusing on acoustic communication in birds. From 2008-2010 she was a Research Associate at CSIRO, where she began work on avian responses to climate change, work she continued as a Research Fellow at Monash University between 2012 and 2014. In 2015 she was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship and returned to the ANU, commencing in May 2016.
Work in the Gardner lab is focused on understanding species’ responses to environmental change: how climate affects individual fitness and the consequences for population dynamics. We make novel use of time series data available through museum collections and citizen science, with particular focus on the effects of climate change on avian morphology. We work at a range of scales, from within-population dynamics to continental-wide comparisons of species in different climatic regions and regimes. New work focuses on study of behavioural responses to climate in Australia’s arid zone, where birds are already close to their thermal limits and behaviour plays an important role in mitigating the costs of heat exposure.
Dr. Janet Gardner
Australian Research Council Future Fellow
Division of Ecology and Evolution
Research School of Biology
The Australian National University
Canberra, ACT 0200
Tel: +61 2 6125 3611
Dr. Tom Flower
Dr. Tom Flower
Centre for Wildlife Ecology
Department of Biological Sciences
8888 University Drive
Simon Fraser University
CANADA V5A 1S6
My research combines observations and experiments on diverse natural systems to explores how interactions between species shape the evolution of animal behaviour, including animal communication and cognition, host-parasite coevolution, nest predation (predator-prey interactions) and kleptoparasitic foraging. In addition, I research animal behaviour to inform biodiversity conservation. Specifically, I investigate the negative impacts of changes in animal behaviour resulting from human alteration of the environment. Presently I am engaged in two projects; the first explores the causes of increased nest predation in fragmented habitat; the second considers the potential impact of rising temperatures attributable to climate change, on bird foraging and reproductive success.
Working on the Hot Birds Project in collaboration with Dr Susie Cunningham and our student, Ryan Olinger, we have undertaken research investigating whether reduced offspring provisioning fitness observed at high temperatures in desert environments, is attributable to thermoregulatory constraints or limited food availability. We look forward to communicating our exciting findings from this research. In the future, myself and Dr Cunningham will extend this project to explore trade-offs between parental and offspring fitness at high temperatures, and the behavioural strategies parental birds employ to mitigate the impact of temperature change on offspring fitness.
Dr. Petra Sumasgutner
Dr. Petra Sumasgutner
Konrad Lorenz Research Centre
Core Facility for Behaviour and Cognition
Fischerau 13, 4645 Grünau/Almtal, Austria
My aim is to understand the response of birds to land-use and climate change. Within this large research field, I am mainly interested in predator-prey and host-parasite relationships, and how these complex interactions change through anthropogenic influences.
At the Konrad Lorenz Research Centre, University of Vienna, Austria, I now coordinate the long-term research project on wild ravens, and analyses movement patters in relation to anthropogenic resources and threats, and information transfer within the scavenger community, including golden eagles. Furthermore, I am working on Darwin’s finches and how predation risk imposed by introduced and native predators shapes behaviour and long-term fitness.
I am also a research associate at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, where I coordinate the Red-winged starling project together with Dr. Susie Cunningham, and where I am collaborating on several urban raptor projects.
Dr. Krista N Oswald
My research interests lie mainly in collecting scientific data on avian ecology that can be used to inform conservation management strategies. I have a particular interest in breeding ecology, and working to conserve, protect, and restore important breeding habitat and areas. In addition, I feel very strongly about disseminating scientific findings, and love using various social media platforms to bring Hot Birds research to as many people as possible.
I am currently working pursuing a few opportunities for further research on temperature-related aspects of avian ecology.