Research

INFORMED HABITAT SELECTION DECISIONS IN SONGBIRDS


Birds live in environments that are heterogeneous at various spatial and temporal scales regarding abiotic, biotic, and social characteristics. The key feature of adaptive settlement behaviour in a heterogeneous environment is gathering and using information about ambient conditions, as it allows individuals to asses a range of available options and choose one with expected highest fitness outcome. I investigate strategies of social and non-social information use in habitat selection decisions in songbirds, i.e. how social (con- and heterospecifics) and non-social (predators, habitat characteristics) cues influence settlement decisions of individuals, using wood warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) as a main model species.

wood_warbler2

The wood warbler. © Jakub Szymkowiak

 

EFFECTS OF MAST SEEDING ON FOREST BIRD COMMUNITIES


Forest habitats are frequently characterized by synchronized and intermittent production of a large seed crop (mast seeding). These “resource pulses” trigger a cascade of direct and indirect effects that permeate throughout forest ecosystem and have crucial consequences for forest communities, including birds. At present, I focus on two themes and investigate: (1) how ecological and life-history traits affect the way birds respond to mast seeding, and (2) how mast seeding affects nest predation on forest songbirds. Here, I also combine my research interests and use interactions between wood warblers and their predators (all of them directly or indirectly respond to mast peaks) as model system to study mechanisms of risk-sensitive habitat selection in fluctuating, pulse-driven environments.

masting

Top-left photo © Lechosław Kuczyński, other photos © Jakub Szymkowiak

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