Department of Behavioural Ecology

Evolution in Africa Everyday!

Who we are?

We are research group at the Faculty of Biology of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland established by Tomasz Osiejuk and Piotr Tryjanowski (now in Institute of Zoology, University of Life Sciences, Poznań) on 1st December 2004.

Research in our lab focuses on the behavioural ecology and animal communication in particular. The most significant topics of our previous studies involved individual recognition, territorial defence, mechanisms maintaining honesty of acoustic signals, links between signals' structure and functional significance, and geographic variation in signals.

We focus heavily on birds' vocalizations but we do not hesitate to expand to other taxa and communication channels. For example, some of the current projects concern also evolution of behavioural syndromes in guppies and signal perception in humans. We are also interested in using acoustic animal signals studing ecology and biology conservation.

Mountain rainy forest in Cameroon - one of the places we do research
Mountain rainy forest in Cameroon - one of the places we do research

Current projects in brief: what, where and why

Most of our projects have strong field work component. We think that observing naturally behaving animals in their environments is often a key for understaning functions and evolution of behaviour. We work on several species models around the World. In Europe, we work - among other species - on the Corncrake and Emberiza buntings. These studies address such issues as territory defence (individual recognition, conflict resolution, costs maintaining signal honesty) as well as spatial signal variation at different scales, or use of individual recognition for conservation purposes.

In recent years, more and more attention is devoted to avian research in tropics. We conduct research on duetting species inhabiting mountain rainy forest of Cameroon (Chubb's cisticola, Yellow-breasted boubou and Bangwa warbler). Cameroon and Mozambique are also our testing ground for research on bioacoustics assessement of avian diversity. Recently, we started project on Turtur doves species which will be conducted in several subsaharian countries in Africa.

The multimodal communication (acoustic and visual) is studied with use of two model bird species: magpie lark in Australia and starling in Europe. The only animal model we currently study in lab is a guppy. This fish is a very useful model for studying effects of induced mutations and inbreeding on behavioural traits and the role of associative learning in originating mating preferences.

2020 papers from our lab (+ papers that have 2019 publishing year but appeared in 2020)

[17] Wheeldon, A, Szymański, P., Osiejuk, T.S. () Yellow-breasted Boubous (Laniarius atroflavus) jointly defend territories with male led duets against stranger pairs, males and females. Ethology DOI: 10.1111/eth.13116 in press

[16] Budka, M., Skierczyńska, A., Antczak, M., Osiejuk, T.S. () Nocturnal singing by diurnal birds in Afrotropical highlands. Journal of Ornithology DOI: 10.1007/s10336-020-01842-0 in press.

[15] Herdegen-Radwan, M., Phillips, K., Babik, W., Mohammed, R., Radwan, J. (2020) Balancing selection versus allele and supertype turnover in MHC class II genes in guppies. Heredity DOI: 10.1038/s41437-020-00369-7

[14] Wheeldon, A., Szymański, P., Budka, M., Osiejuk, T.S. (2020) Structure and functions of Yellow-breasted Boubou (Laniarius atroflavus) solos and duets. PeerJ 8:e10214 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.10214

[13] Budka, M., Kokociński, P., Bogawski, P., Nowak, M., Białas, J.T., Machura, M. (2020) Seasonal changes in distribution and abundance of a local Corncrake population. Journal of Ornithology, accepted.

[12] Dziuba, M.K., Herdegen-Radwan, M., Pluta, E., Wejnerowski, Ł., Szczuciński, W., Cerbin, S. (2020) Temperature increase altered Daphnia community structure in artificially heated lakes: a potential scenario for a warmer future. Scientific Reports 10:13956. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-70294-6

[11] Jedlikowski J., Polak M., Brambilla M., Ręk P. (2020) Vocal and non-vocal behavior interact differently in territorial strategies of two sympatric Rallidae species. Journal of Ornithology DOI: 10.1007/s10336-020-01808-2

[10] Łukasiewicz A., Niśkiewicz M., Radwan J. (2020) Sexually-selected male weapon is associated with lower inbreeding load but higher sex load in the bulb mite. Evolution 74:1851-1855. DOI 11.1111@evo.14033

[9] Kułaga K., Budka M. (2020) Nocturnal singing by diurnal birds in a temperate region of central Europe. Journal of Ornithology 161:1143-1152. DOI: 10.1007/s10336-020-01794-5

[8] Sottas C., Reif J., Kreinsinger J., Schmiedová L., Sam K., Osiejuk T.S., Reifová R. (2020) Tracing early steps of competition-driven eco-morphological divergence in two sister species of passerines. Evolutionary Ecology 34: 501-524. DOI 10.1007/s10682-020-10050-4

[7] Budka M., Czyż M., Skierczyńska A., Skierczyński M., Osiejuk TS. (2020) Duration of survey changes interpretation of habitat preferences study - an example of an endemic tropical songbird - the Bangwa forest warbler. Ostrich 91(3):195-203. DOI: 10.2989/00306525.2020.1723139

[6] Ręk, P., Magrath, R. (2020) Visual displays enhance vocal duet production and the perception of coordination despite spatial separation of partners. Animal Behaviour 168: 231-241. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2020.08.002

[5] Żurawlew, P., Desutter-Grandcolas, L., Szymański, P., Herman, D. New records of exotic crickets  in Europe: Homoeogryllus species (Orthoptera: Phalangopsidae). Journal of Orthoptera Research 29:121-125.

[4] Szymański, P., Janczyszyn, A. (2019) The first and the second record of the Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida in Poland. Ornis Polonica 60 (4): 307-313.

[3] Szymański, P. (2019) Third record of the Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta in Poland. Ornis Polonica 60(3): 224-226.

[2] Deoniziak, K., Osiejuk, T.S. (2020) Song-type switching rate in the chaffinch carries a message during simulated intrusion. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 74(4):47. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-020-2825-2

[1] Rosin, Z.M., Hiron, M., Żmihorski, M., Szymański, P., Tobółka, M., Part, T. (2020) Reduced biodiversity in modernized villages: A conflict between sustanable development goals. Journal of Applied Ecology 57: 467-475. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13566