Barbara Helm



Barbara Helm

Affiliation / Institution

University of Glasgow


Glasgow, UK


Barbara Helm is a Reader at the University of Glasgow (UK), where she has moved from Germany. She has been passionate about birds for as long as she can remember. Over the years she has been active in bird conservation groups and has worked with citizen scientists and academic ornithologists from across the world. She has long been actively involved in the ornithological community and has served in leadership positions in several societies in Germany, the UK and Europe.
Barbara is curious about all aspects of ornithology, but looks at birds with a specific interest in time-keeping. Much of her academic work revolves around biological rhythms, because birds, especially migrants, are perhaps the most formidable multi-taskers for getting the timing right! Barbara looks at annual and daily cycles in behaviour and in many aspects of physiology, in particular in Stonechats (Saxicola torquata). She is intrigued by the endogenous rhythms that allow the body to tell time and to anticipate rhythmic changes in the environment. Learning how deeply the birds’ rhythmic abilities are engrained in their genetic programmes has also made her think about the effects of anthropogenic changes on avian reproduction and survival, and about the evolutionary implications of biological rhythms. Barbara enjoys to look at these questions in multi-disciplinary teams, internationally and at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, where she works in Glasgow.