My research focussen on the role of informed decision making on ecological and evolutionary processes.
TechniqueModelling, GPS tracking, remote sensing
Evolutionary biological and Molecular ecological research. Field ecotoxicological and behavioural research in birds.
Technique- Description, analysis, and interpretation of behaviour - Bioacoustical analyses - Molecular-ecological analyses - Electrofishing techniques - Biomonitoring
Users- Environmental and nature administration - Media
Fish ecology, Evolutionary ecology, Biomonitoring, Bioacoustics, Field ecotoxicology
Starting my own research trajectory in 2009, I have shown independence and urge to reach professional maturity. What started as a conservation-based research trajectory, now evolved into a profound commitment to understand animal behaviour. I have designed and led research on different species in Belgium, Switzerland Afrika and Asia and collaborated with (international) scientists from other fields (biostatistics, population genetics, immunology). To support my research ideas, I have collected over 250.000 EURO of project and personal funding. The initial pioneering, labour-intensive field work to establish Nightjars as a model organism for the study of timing of animal behaviour, and recent invitations to work at prestigious research institutes are an example of my high sense of duty and my acquired scientific independence. It also shows that I possess the mental, organizational, and technical skills to successfully carry out all the objectives of the proposal. I am aware that this pioneering may have resulted in a reduction in the number of publications in recent years, although that will be largely compensated in upcoming years, hopefully in light of this FWO-fellowship. The application of state-of-the-art tracking technologies, which are highly innovative for this type of model organism, has led to the compilation of large and relatively complex datasets that require advanced statistical analysis. I have developed several methods by myself to optimize data collection and investigate new, challenging questions regarding animal behaviour. I have optimized the data-analysis protocols under the supervision of Dr. Bart Kempenaers at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology. In the past years, I was supported and trained by a team of world-renowned scientists at prestigious institutes in order to expand my expertise in movement ecology and activity patterns by undertaking innovative and fundamental research (using cutting-edge technology). Building further on this, I will collaborate within a world-class research environment (sensory pollution, animal behaviour, physics) where I will get the freedom to undertake innovative research using nightjars as a model organism. I will become an expert on the impact of astronomical light pollution on animal behaviour, an impactful research frontier in behavioural ecology and global change.
TechniqueRadio Telemetry, GPS tracking, Geolocation, DNA-metabarcoding
UsersPolicy makers, conservationists
Geolocation, Light pollution, Nightjar
I am an environmental scientist with background in biology and environmental toxicology. My research interests focus on biomonitoring of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAS) in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and the environmental and human health risks they pose. Currently, I am investigating the distribution of PFAS in both terrestrial and aquatic environments, and the potential ecological and human health risks related to PFAS pollution. In the terrestrial environment, my main focus is on biomonitoring of PFAS in the terrestrial food chain (soil, invertebrates, plants and songbirds). I am studying factors that affect bioavailability from soil to biota and the potential toxicity related to PFAS accumulation in these organisms. Furthermore, I am developing or optimizing analytical methods to analyze PFAS in different environmental matrices. In the aquatic environment, the main focus of my research is also on biomonitoring PFAS in the food chain, the toxicity of PFAS to aquatic organisms and on factors that might affect PFAS bioavailability. In addition, I am examining different monitoring techniques (i.e. active and passive biomonitoring) in order to investigate their potential for usage in future PFAS research. In my previous research, I developed an analytical method for the analysis of PFAS from multiple abiotic and biotic samples, examined the distribution of PFAS in great tits and invertebrates along a distance gradient from a fluorochemical hotspot, and studied the potential effects of very high PFAS concentrations on reproduction and oxidative status of great tits. My previous studies on the aquatic environment were primarily investigating the PFAS concentrations in aquatic ecosystems in Africa.
Technique- Development and application of analytical methods for the analysis of PFAS from biotic and abiotic matrices. - Examining bioavailability, -accumulation, and toxicity of PFAS in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
UsersEveryone (government, universities, industries, etc.) with an interest in bioavailability, bioaccumulation and toxicity of PFAS in the environment.
Aquatic ecosystems, Terrestrial ecosystem, Environmental pollution, Environmental toxicology, Perfluoroalkyl acids
My research is centered on avian behavioral ecology, conservation ecology and urban ecology. I particularly focus on how exposure to anthropogenic disturbance factors, including chemical pollution and direct human disturbance, affect the behavioral traits, life histories and fitness of birds. I am especially interested in how anthropogenic disturbance affects rates of senescence and the expression of sexual signals. Moreover, I am also interested in how urban environments affect avian personalities, as defined by consistent among individual differences in behavior.
TechniqueI have technical expertise in avian field research methods, including banding, mist netting and collecting behavioral observation on birds. Moreover, I also have extensive experience with laboratory methods used in ecophysiological studies, especially including performing qPCR to measure telomere length and using spectrophotometry to measure plumage coloration. I also have experience measuring chemical contaminants and conducting complex statistical analyses in R.
UsersMy research is of interest to behavioral ecologists interested in basic evolutionary and behavioral processes, and to conservation ecologists and urban planners.
Behavioural ecology, Urban ecology, Sexual signaling, Avian personalities, Ecotoxicology
My research involves the affect of natural and anthropogenic disturbance factors on physiology, behavior, and processes of aging. Current projects focus on the effect of anthropogenic light and noise pollution on telomere dynamics, parental behavior and survival. In addition, I am investigating the effects of noise pollution on sleep behavior.
TechniqueI have expertise with measuring stress hormones via radioimmunoassay, qPCR to measure telomere length, oxidative stress assays, measuring sexual coloration via spectrophotometry, and recording and analyzing avian vocalizations. I am also adept at field techniques in avian ecology including mist netting, nest searching, and obtaining blood samples.
UsersAvian Ecologists, Students, Conservation Planners
Senescence, Urban disturbance, Stress physiology
Lopez Antia Ana
My areas of expertise are ecotoxicology, environmental risk assessment and wildlife conservation. One of my lines of research aims to assess the risk of seeds treated with pestiticides for birds. Seed treatments are a method widely used for crop protection. Treated seeds pose a risk to seed-eating birds and mammals that use them as a food source. In my PhD project, I described the toxicological effects of ingesting cereal seeds treated with pesticides (insecticides and fungicides) on the health and reproductive success of red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa). A second aim was to estimate the risk of exposure of partridges to treated seeds in the field. I am currently working on a project to assess the adverse effects of Perfluoralkyl compounds on birds. These compounds have a wide range of applications such as surface coatings for carpets, textile stain, soil repellents, food contact paper and fire-fighting foams. The extended use of perfluoralkyl compounds, together with their high persistence, has resulted in global contamination of the environment, wildlife and humans. The ubiquity of these compounds contrasts sharply with the limited information about their effects on organisms. With this project, we aim to understand the toxicity mechanism of perfluoralkyl compounds and the biological consequences of exposure to levels present in the environment. Prior to my PhD studies, I worked for five years in the Ebro Delta where I worked as an ornithologist and as bird ringer.
TechniqueField techniques used: Bird trapping (mist nets, funnel traps, nest-boxes), biometric measurements, bird ringing, blood / fat / preen oil sampling (non-destructive), feces / pellets collection. Laboratory techniques used: Chromatography (HPLC-MS, GC-MS) , spectroscopy (AA), ELISA, genetics (PCR), genomics and transcriptomics (RT-PCR). These techniques are used to perform the following analyses: Toxicological analyses: Pesticides, PFAAs, rodenticides, metals. Antioxidants and oxidative stress parameters: Total non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity (TAC), glutathione peroxidase (GPX) / superoxide dismutase (SOD) / catalase (CAT) activity, protein carbonyls, lipid peroxidation (MDA), reduced (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG), vitamins (retinol, α-tocopherol) and carotenoids (zeaxanthin and lutein). Immune parameters: Innate immune parameters (agglutination, lysis, haptoglobin concentrations and nitric oxide concentrations), cellular immune response (phytohemagglutinin (PHA) skin test), humoral immune response (haemagglutination test after injecting an antigen, SRBC). Plasmatic biochemistry: alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), lactate dehydrogenase (LHD), creatine phosphokinase (CPK), albumin, total protein, glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, creatinine, urea and uric acid. Hormone concentration: Sex steroid hormones (testosterone and estradiol) and thyroid hormones (thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3)). Transcriptomics: RNA extraction, RT-PCR, high throughput sequencing. Other measurements: Molecular sexing of birds, acetylcholinesterase activity (AChE).
UsersOther researchers. Industry (Chemical industry to perform studies about the effects of pollutants in birds).
Wildlife, Conservation, Risk assessment, Toxicology
I conducted a PhD project on the impact of forest selective logging on stress physiology of tropical birds. I have skills for mist-netting birds. I have skills in laboratory analysis of oxidative stress markers in blood, corticosterone in feathers (ELISA), screening of avian blood haemosporidian parasites. I have also have skills in the use of software R for statistical analysis (GLM, GLMM, meta-analysis), either with frequentist and bayesian approach.
TechniqueLaboratory: ELISA assay (protocol for measuring corticosterone in feathers); protocol for measuring antioxidant enzymes SOD, CAT and GPx in red blood cells. Statistic: Meta-analysis, phylogenetic GLM and GLMM. Software R and SPSS. Experimental induction of oxidative challenge in passerines.
Usersother research groups that may wish starting a collaboration. NGO involved in conservation of species and ecosystems. Environmental agencies.
Ecophysiology, Conservation biology, Animal ecology
Movement Ecology: studying foraging behaviour, migration and parental care. Behavioural Ecology: using natural populations and field-based research to investigate the effects of natural selection acting on experimentally manipulated traits. Evolutionary Ecology to study intra-family conflict resolution, phenotypic plasticity and co-adaptation among other via artificial selection experiments.
TechniqueGPS tracking, Behavioural observations, Immunological analyses, Hormone analyses (from blood or other tissues), Field-based research, Molecular genetic analyses
UsersNature conservation agencies, Media, Public authorities, Agriculture
Habitat management, Family matters, Natural selection
Didactics of Biology, Physics, Chemistry and the Natural Sciences - (i)STEM education - Scientific literacy (in evolution) - Inquiry-based education - Teacher education Behavioural ecological and Eco-physiological research in songbirds
School survey, Natural selection, School functioning