This project is aimed at identifying the key functional traits of individuals that meet the challenges created by urban environments.
Individual variation can drive and constrain animals’ adaptations to human-induced rapid environmental changes (HIREC). Behavioural and cognitive adaptations are likely to play a major role in coping with anthropogenic change because behaviour largely determines how individuals interact with their surroundings. This project is aimed at identifying the key functional traits of individuals that meet the challenges created by urban environments.
In this project we measure individual differences in learning speed and flexibility of small mammals, along with decision-making and personality traits.
In this project we investigate how individual strategies to acquire and use information to solve cognitive tasks affect speed and flexibility of learning, as well as decisions regarding foraging, predation risk and coping with challenges and novelty.In this project we investigate how individual strategies to acquire and use information to solve cognitive tasks affect speed and flexibility of learning, as well as decisions regarding foraging, predation risk and coping with challenges and novelty.
Animal personality may play an important role in invasion and re-colonisation processes. Here we investigate behavioural adaptations in an invasion of voles in Ireland after an accidental introduction
Invasive species have stepped outside their co-evolutionary networks, and allow the study of direct, interspecific competition at the invasion range. Here I study behavioural traits and behavioural flexibility which may contribute to the invasive potential of a species at established ranges and at the edge of expansion. Also behavioural traits and adaptation of the invaded community are studied, which may determine establishment success of the introduced species.
The project aims at elucidating the interrelations between wildlife biodiversity and dynamics of zoonotic disease at local and European scales.
Science is struggling to exactly understand how biodiversity affects disease dynamics and emergence. Most of this scientific debate is focused on the biodiversity paradox: dilution vs. amplification effect. On the one hand, it is well documented that high host diversity can “dilute” pathogen transmission by comprising species with low reservoir competence, which therefore may decrease disease transmission. On the other hand, high biodiversity may be associated with enhanced risk of pathogen emergence by extending to a most competent reservoir species and thereby increasing disease transmission.
The project investigates possible interrelations between biodiversity and rodent-borne diseases in European temperate forests and urban green spaces taking into account potential interactions between multiple pathogens, also within its biotic environment (the rodent microbiome) as well as temporal dynamics, including climate change scenarios. Further, resulting data will be discussed with stakeholders to improve disease prevention policies
In this project we investigate the effect of different intensities of artificial light on individuals and populations of different small mammals.
Artificial light is affecting the behaviour and physiology of animals and people. With the advance of LED technology street lights and solar garden lights, artificial illumination will become even more abundant, but their effects on wildlife are not well understood. Recent changes in the use of artificial light (intensity, light spectrum) might have an increasingly negative influence on mammals concerning their behavior, condition and fitness.
Inter-individual differences and coexistence
In this project we investigate the importance of inter-individual differences for ecological interactions of co-occurring individuals and the facillitation of coexistence.
In natural Populations individuals of one species consistently differ in their behavioural traits. These inter-individual differences, i.e. animal personality traits, entail great ecological consequences through influencing for example space use, life history parameters and species interactions. In this project we investigate to what extent inter-individual differences in movement-related behaviour influence interactions of individuals. The consideration of within-individual differences in that context might facilitate a better understanding of the mechanisms that drive species coexistence potentially improving our understanding of how local biodiversity is shaped.