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.

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) A bidirectional selection experiment to test the evolution of specialization and dispersal in the invasive wheat curl mite, Aceria tosichella (2) Dispersal strategies in eriophyoid mites differing in their host specificity; (3) Specialization trade-offs and ecology of dispersal in phytophagous mites 


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) Social learning of risk recognition in wild birds; (2) Information use in habitat selection decisions in songbirds

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