Evolutionary endocrinology of birds

Abstract Our main research interest is to understand the ways in which animals evolve physiological adaptations to the environment in which they live. At present we focus on the evolution of the endocrine control of behavior. We investigate, for example, how individual variation in corticosterone and testosterone profiles translate into fitness, whether hormone profiles are heritable and how plasticity in hormonal responses comes about. Our main study species is the great tit, Parus major, a well-studied and abundant species across Europe. We approach microevolutionary questions using natural variation in the wild, phenotypic engineering (hormone manipulations), telemetry, and behavioral observations, eventually extending into quantitative genetics approaches.

Keywords evolution, physiology, hormone, stress, behavior, fitness

Main Advisor Michaela Hau, MIPO Seewiesen

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