Our principal study systems

We use a range of model systems to study various questions in ecology, evolution, and behavior. Below you can find a short description of each study system with which members of Population Ecology Lab currently work, as well as a list of projects involved. Please, see the “Research” tab (main menu) for more detailed descriptions of each research project.

Phytophagous mites

Eriophyid mites are very tiny and often go undetected. Unlike the majority of adult mites that have four pairs of legs eriophyid mites have only two pairs. They are are obligate herbivores that are intimately associated with their host
plants, which serve as their habitat, food resource, and mating site. Their feeding can cause direct plant damages (such as galls, discolouration, curling, stunting), and some species can transmit plant diseases caused by viruses.

Current projects: (1) Spatial distribution of Aceria tosichella biotypes differing in their host specificity and invasive potential; (2) Dispersal strategies in eriophyoid mites differing in their host specificity; (3) Evolution of dispersal-dependent phenotypic traits in phytophagous mites

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Wood warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix)

Wood warblers are small, ground-nesting, insectivorous songbirds. They are long-distance (Palearctic-Afrotropical) migrants, with breeding areas covering northern and temperate Europe and Central Asia and wintering grounds in the Congo basin in Sub-Saharan Africa. Wood warblers are distinctly forest-dwelling species. They predominantly inhabit deciduous and mixed forests, although they are also found at lower densities in coniferous stands.

Wood warblers are our main model species for studying mechanisms of social and non-social information use for habitat selection decisions and effects of mast seeding on nest predation on songbirds.

Current projects: (1) Informed habitat selection decisions in songbirds; (2) Behavioral mechanisms of habitat selection processes in small songbirds: the wood warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) as a case study; (3) Effects of mast seeding on nest predation on songbirds

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Montagu’s harrier (Circus pygargus)

The Montagu’s harrier, a scarce lowland raptor species in Poland, occurs mainly in the eastern part of the country, breeding in extensively used farmland. The progressive decline of this species has been observed since the beginning of the XXI century although the causes of this trend remain unclear.

Current projects: (1) Factors influencing numbers and distribution of the Montagu’s harrier in Poland; (2) Montagu’s harrier protection in Poland

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