|Affiliation / Institution||
Section of Animal Biology, University of Palermo
My research interests focus on behavioural and ecological aspects of interspecific interactions with particular attention to their evolutionary implications. My first study system was based on both the new and old worlds with a comparative investigation of defence responses of hosts of avian brood parasites. I adopted an experimental approach to test Yellow and Reed warblers for their social versus individual learning abilities applied to their response to parasites, the Brown-headed Cowbird and Common Cuckoo, respectively. Interactions between two species is still the focus on my current project as a post-doc at the University of Palermo (Sicily, Italy). Here I look at potential reciprocal advantages or, on the contrary, maladaptive associations between two cavity nesters, the Lesser Kestrel and Jackdaw. The current project also integrates molecular and ecological aspects with behavioural responses of the two species nesting in pure versus mixed-species colonies. My ultimate goal is to quantify the role of interspecific social interactions into potential evolutionary responses.