Dr. Juan F. Masello
+49 (0)641-99 35760
AG Verhaltensökologie und Ökophysiologie der Tiere
Fields of interest / focus of work
My multidisciplinary areas of interest and research focuses on the behavioural ecology, parasitology, and molecular ecology of wild populations of birds. The primary focus of my research has been (1) responses of individuals to changing environmental conditions, (2) foraging strategies, (3) reproductive strategies, 4) individual reproductive performance, and (5) the evolutionary consequences of behaviour. My ornithological research was conducted primarily on wild populations of parrots, penguins, gulls and other seabirds since these offer excellent opportunities for testing a number of theoretical predictions. I have been responsible for initiating and leading several projects among them the ‘Breeding biology of Burrowing Parrots’ (since 1998) and the study of Gentoo Penguin foraging ecology using energy landscapes. As a result, I have long-term data on the breeding biology of Burrowing Parrots, which allowed me, among other future possibilities, to conduct the study of determinants of breeding success in birds such us global climatic events like ENSO. During my research, I gained expertise in a wide variety of techniques both in the lab and in the field including: population genetics, molecular sexing, radio tracking, use of time-depth, GPS, accelerometer and compass loggers, use of geo-locators, reflectance spectrometry, spectrophotometry, audio and video recordings of behaviour, field immunology (e.g. analysis of blood smears), determination of feeding patterns, supplementary feeding, analysis of ectoparasites, bird ringing, rock climbing, aerial and terrestrial surveys, etc. As early as my MSc, I was interested in the responses of individuals to environmental conditions, and during that time studied zooplanktonic molluscs, Urochordata, phytoplankton, and bacteria in extreme environments such us the South Atlantic Ocean and Antarctica. A further focus of my work is to contribute scientific data to enable more effective conservation of species and ecosystems. Since 2003, I am involved in projects on parrot conservation in co-operation with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Parrot Trust, BirdlLife International and Aves Argentinas among others. Since 2014, I am Fellow of the International Ornithologists’ Union (IOU). Since 2018, I am Member of the IOU Council, as well as Chair of the Scientific Programs Committee (SPC) for the 28th International Ornithological Congress.
- Current: Principal Investigator at the Department of Animal Ecology & Systematics, Justus Liebig University in Giessen (Germany). Project: Movement ecology and microhabitat choice of medium-sized bird species (subproject ÖP3 within the project “Nature 4.0 - Sensing Biodiversity” lead by the Philipps-Universität Marburg; https://www.uni-marburg.de/de/fb19/natur40/projektbereiche/pilotierung )
- 2015-2018: Principal Investigator at the Department of Animal Ecology & Systematics, Justus Liebig University in Giessen (Germany). Project: How animals distribute themselves in space: energy landscapes of an Antarctic predator (DFG Priority Programme 1158 Antarctic Research)
- 2013-2015: Principal Investigator at the Department of Animal Ecology & Systematics, Justus Liebig University in Giessen (Germany). Project: How animals distribute themselves in space: changing energy landscapes (DFG).
- 2012-2013: Research Scientist and lecturer at the Department of Animal Ecology & Systematics, Justus Liebig University in Giessen (Germany). Research topics: foraging ecology and diving behaviour of seabirds in the Falkland Is. and San Benito Is. (México) (DFG); behavioural ecology of Burrowing Parrots in Patagonia (WCS). Teaching: “Ethology of wild and zoo animals” and “Laboratory Courses for Master Students 1” (MSc) and “Work as Assistant and Teamwork” (BSc).
- 2012: Lecturer (Lehrkraft für besondere Aufgaben) at the Department of Animal Ecology & Systematics, Justus Liebig University in Giessen (Germany). BSc and MSc courses: Biodiversity and Systematics, Zoology, Animal Ecology, Anatomy, Systematics, and Evolution of Plants and Animals.
- 2010-2011: Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Vogelwarte Radolfzell (Germany). Topics: foraging ecology and diving behaviour of seabirds in the Falkland Is. and San Benito Is. (México) (DFG); behavioural ecology of Burrowing Parrots in Patagonia (WCS and MPI-O).
- 2008-2010: Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Vogelwarte Radolfzell (Germany). Topics: behavioural ecology and phylogeography of Burrowing Parrots in Patagonia (MPI-O & WCS); foraging ecology and diving behaviour of seabirds in the Falkland Is. (DFG).
- 2006-2008: Research Scientist, (Leiter eines Drittmittelprojektes) at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Vogelwarte Radolfzell (Germany). Topics: monitoring breeding success of Burrowing Parrots under variable environmental conditions and variable human disturbance (WCS); breeding biology of Thin-billed Prions; provisioning and growth patterns in seabirds; foraging ecology of Blue-eyed (King) shags (DFG).
- 2005-2006: Post-doctoral research, at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Vogelwarte Radolfzell (Germany). Topics: plumage coloration in relation to season, sex steroids, immune and other health parameters in songbirds; the ecological significance of parrot coloration focused on the Burrowing Parrot. Group leader: Dr. A. Peters.
- 2003-2004: Post-doctoral research at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol (UK). Topics: the ecological significance of parrot coloration: insights from the South American Burrowing Parrot (WCS). Ecology of Vision group: Dr. A.T.D. Bennett.
- 2002: Post-doctoral research at the Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow (UK). Topics: breeding biology of Burrowing Parrots; begging and chick provisioning in Cory’s Shearwaters; provisioning and begging regulation of feeding frequencies and meal sizes in Manx Shearwaters. Ornithology group: Prof. Dr. R.W. Furness.
- 2002: Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.) Free University Berlin (Germany). Topic: breeding biology of Burrowing Parrots Cyanoliseus patagonus during contrasting environmental conditions. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. D. Todt.
- 1998: M.Sc. University of Buenos Aires (Argentina). Topic of thesis: Mechanisms of admixture of zooplanktonic molluscs in the Subtropical Front of the South Atlantic Ocean. Supervisor: Dr. J. Dadon
Current h-index: 31
List of peer-reviewed and book publications: list and links
Awards & grants
- Award from the President of the International Ornithologists’ Union (IOU) Prof. Dr. Dominique Homberger for outstanding contributions to the IOU. Vancouver, Canada, 26 August 2018
- Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) grant, Priority Programme 1158 Antarctic Research (2015-2018)
- COST Short Term Scientific Mission (EC-funded; 2016)
- Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) grant, Germany (2013-2015)
- SYNTHESYS grant (EC-funded project creating an integrated European infrastructure for natural history collections; 2013)
- Research Grant from the Falkland Islands Government Environmental Studies Budget (2012-2013)
- Research Grants from the Liz Claiborne/Art Ortenberg Foundation and Wildlife Conservation Society (USA) (2004-2013)
- DAAD, travel grant, Germany (2012)
- Research Grants from the World Parrot Trust (2011, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003)
- Research Grant from the Research Commission of the German Ornithologists’ Society (Forschungskommission, Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft, DO-G) (2007-2008)
- NERC, UK & Scottish Environmental Research Centre, UK (Grant-in-Kind 2006, 2008)
- UK Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP, 2005-07, 2009-11)
- Grant (Fortbildungsstipendium) from the Max Planck Society, Germany (2005-2006)
- Small Grant from the Dirección de Fauna Silvestre (Wildlife Division) of Río Negro, Argentina (2006)
- Small Grant from the Fundación Patagonia Natural, Argentina (2004)
- Small Grant from The Parrot Society, UK (2004)
- Small Grant from School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, UK (2004)
- Ecological Project Grants from the British Ecological Society, UK (2003)
- Aves Argentinas and BirdLife International, travel grant (2003)
- Project Support for Bilateral Cooperation in Science and Technology, International Bureau of the Federal Ministry for Education, Research, Development and Technology of Germany (ARG 99/020), and the Secretary of Science and Technology of Argentina (AL/A99-EXIII/003) (2000-2002)
Post-graduate Research Grant from the State of Thuringia, Germany (1999-2002)
Nature 4.0 - Sensing Biodiversity: https://www.uni-marburg.de/de/fb19/natur40
Burrowing Parrot Project - Cyanoliseus patagonus in Argentina: http://www.staff.uni-giessen.de/~gf1702/
Working Group Psittaciformes (former Research Coordination Committee on Parrots) of the International Ornithologist's Union:
International Ornithologist's Union: http://www.internationalornithology.org/
Ornitología Neotropical: http://www.neotropicalornithology.org/ornitologia-neotropical/
Interview, The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/science/parrots-are-a-lot-more-than-pretty-bird.html?emc=eta1&_r=1
Interview, Legislatura de Río Negro, Argentina: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcjdIGY7GdU
Auswirkungen der globalen Erwärmung auf Vögel in Arktis und Antarktis: http://geb.uni-giessen.de/geb/volltexte/2019/14884/pdf/forum_forschung_2019_2.pdf
Artenschützer schlagen Alarm: Papageien noch bedrohter als befürchtet: http://www.uni-giessen.de/ueber-uns/pressestelle/pm/pm172-17
Die Bedrohung von Papageienpopulationen in Südamerika ist höher als bislang angenommen:
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed: http://www.uni-giessen.de/ueber-uns/pressestelle/pm/pm172a-17
How two species can become three:
Wie aus zwei Arten drei werden können
Interview, BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7790805.stm
New Island Project: http://www.falklandswildlife.com