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The great tit has revealed its genetic code, offering new insight into how species adapt to a changing planet. Initial findings suggest that epigenetics – what’s on rather than what’s in the gene – may have played a key role in the evolution of the ability to learn. And not just that of birds...
WAGENINGEN - NIOO-KNAW's Centre for Avian Migration and Demography has ringed birds and studied their migration patterns for over a century. In its first-ever peer review, the Centre has been rated 'excellent'.
An oystercatcher nest is washed away in a storm surge. Australian passerine birds die during a heatwave. A late frost in their breeding area kills off a group of American cliff swallows. Small tragedies that may seem unrelated, but point to the underlying long-term impact of extreme climatic events. In the special June issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, NIOO researchers launch a new approach to these 'extreme' studies.
ZEIST/WAGENINGEN/NIJMEGEN - Birds that breed in the Dutch Wadden Sea are facing serious problems, according to a new report that brings together all available data from the past two decades. The report was launched at the inaugural symposium of the new Centre for Avian Population Studies (CAPS).
Northern lapwings are easy to spot during the breeding season, with their noisy aerial acrobatics. But as research led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) shows, lapwings that breed virtually next to each other in spring may spend their winters thousands of kilometres apart. As a survival strategy, it's not enough to stop the species' ongoing decline.
The reproductive tracts of males and females contain whole communities of micro-organisms. These microbes can have considerable impact on (animal) fertility and reproduction, as shown by Melissah Rowe from the NIOO-KNAW.
The strain of bird flu responsible for the recent outbreak in the Netherlands is a highly pathogenic form of H5N8.
Illumination of forest edges leads to a decrease in moth numbers and changes in the behaviour and success of bigger day as well as night-active animals in the long run. What did we find out at NIOO and what can we do with these results?
Songbirds change their behaviour and timing when nestboxes are exposed to artificial light at night. "They become light sleepers, literally and metaphorically", says Maaike de Jong (NIOO-KNAW). She successfully defended her thesis on the effects of different colours of light at Wageningen University on Friday. The most surprising effect she's found? Some birds are forced to become more monogamous...
On 28 October, Bernice Sepers (Animal Ecology) will defend her thesis on 'Behavioural epigenetics: insights into the role of heritable and induced DNA methylation variation in avian personality' at Wageningen UR.