Institution or affiliation:
Department of Biology, University of Turku
I completed my PhD in evolutionary ecology in 2010 at the University of Turku (topics: parental effects, phenotypic plasticity, sexual conflict in passerine birds) and I am also a biology school teacher. I worked as a post-doc at the university of Turku in 2010-2012 (topics: avian evolutionary ecology, predator-prey interactions, ecophysiology), and as a project leader (2010-2017, topics: avian environmental ecology, anthropogenic pollution effects on passerines). Thereafter, I joined the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and University of Groningen as an Academy post-doc (2012-2015, topics including avian maternal effects, personality research, climate change and ecophysiology).
Since 2015 I have worked as an Academy research Fellow at the University of Turku. In my ongoing projects we study (i) novel mechanisms underlying maternal effects, especially maternal thyroid hormones: plasticity, evolution and consequences on offspring traits as well as endocrine disruption (ii) avian epigenetics and (iii) the effects of herbicide glyphosate on non-target avian taxa.
My main research combines topics from evolutionary and behavioural ecology with ecophysiology, ecological (epi)genetics, environmental ecology and ecotoxicology in birds, and thus I see myself as an integrative biologist. My research combines both fundamental and applied research topics. Birds (mainly passerines, recently also comparative studies across altricial and precocial species) have been the main study organism throughout my research (12 years). We apply various experimental approaches in the field and lab, as well as collaborative large-scale (European wide) spatial data collection and long-term monitoring. I also teach practical skills in bird research to Bcs level students every year. I am interested in proximate and ultimate mechanisms underlying variation phenotypic and behavioral traits, their plasticity, and especially how physiologically-regulated traits enable organismal adaptation to changing environmental conditions. One unifying theme over the years has been early life environment effects and transgenerational phenotypic plasticity; their various sources, underlying mechanisms and their role at various levels, ranging from individual development to a means of adaptation among populations.
I am an active participant in the academic community: Editor-in-Chief in Ornis Fennica since 2017, a subject editor in the Journal of Avian Biology since 2018, and an active reviewer. I was one of four main organizers of EOU Turku in 2017 and one of the organizers in ESEB 2019. I have strong interest in science communication (e.g. via social media), open science and education.
What motivates you to apply?
In my view, EOU has a very important role in connecting ornithologists working on different topics and skill sets, and thus facilitating fruitful interactions and collaborations. This should be the core focus of EOU. For these purposes, the conferences are very important, and EOU should actively strive to include a whole range of research topics from molecules to population level. I would like to see EOU also to support the younger generation of ornithologists, for example via training and courses (which can also inspire collaborations), and potentially even with small grants if financially feasible. EOU could more actively share information on PhD and other work opportunities in ornithology. EOU could also take part in societal discussion in conservation issues. It could be possible to step up as a community to fight against European-wide environmental issues (e.g. concerning migratory species habitats), or even more local issues for instance on habitat loss and climate change. EOU could be the voice of a large community of researchers, and also more visible in (social) media.
by Martin Muir | Nov 6, 2019