Information use in habitat selection decisions in songbirds

PI: Jakub Szymkowiak

Collaborators: Jukka T. Forsman, Kenneth A. Schmidt, Robert L. Thomson

Description: 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 behavior 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. In this project, we are broadly interested in mechanisms and ecological implications of information use in habitat selection decisions in songbirds. Current topics focus on, for example, how social (con- and heterospecific) cues affect settlement behavior of individuals, how birds manage predation risk via informed habitat selection decisions in fluctuating environments, how individual-level decision-making affects higher-order ecological phenomena, etc. Empirical studies use wood warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) as a main model species.

More info:

Selected publications:

Szymkowiak J., Thomson R.L. 2019. Nest predator avoidance during habitat selection of a songbird varies with mast peaks and troughs. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 73:91,

Szymkowiak J. 2019. On resolving the selective interspecific information use vs. owner aggression hypothesis dilemma—a commentary. acta ethologica, 22: 149-154,