Research

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  What?
   

My main research interests include brood parasite-host co-evolution, avian urbanization, and various aspects of avian behaviour and ecology. Host-parasite interactions provide us with a fine model for the study of coevolution. Strikingly, evolutionary interactions between parasites (e.g. common cuckoos Cuculus canorus) and their hosts (e.g. Acrocephalus warblers) resulted in some clearest examples of both adaptations (e.g. egg mimicry) and a puzzling lack of adaptations (e.g. acceptance of foreign chicks). My research emphasizes: 

  • metareplication - conclusions from the great majority of ecological research are based on single-species or single-population studies, strongly constraining inference from such limited studies. Therefore we metareplicate across phylogeny (multiple host species), space (multiple populations within each species), and time (multiple breeding seasons per population per species). See e.g. Grim et al 2011 or Díaz et al 2013.
     
  • whole ontogeny - most previous research on hosts and brood parasites was done at the egg stage (see Grim 2007a). In contrast, we focus on interactions across the whole life-cycle: eggs (e.g. Igic et al 2012), nestlings (e.g. Yang et al 2013), fledglings (in prep.) and adults (e.g. Trnka et al 2015). Due to this approach I was lucky to hit upon the - so far only - common cuckoo host that rejects cuckoo nestlings (Grim et al 2003, Grim 2007b).
     
  • invasions - sympatry/allopatry status of any native host population is always unknown (at least in the long term). Introduced populations provide unique - and overall unstudied - study systems where allopatry was inadvertently created by humans. Such "natural experiments" fundamentally improve our understanding of both parasite-host co-evolution (e.g. Samas et al 2014) and general avian life-history (e.g. Samas et al 2013).
   
  Where?


Finland (with P. Samaš, M. Kysučan, J. Rutila)
Utula (North Karelia)

Czech Republic (with D. Hanley, P. Samaš, J. Heryán)
Olomouc city

Lednice and Lužice ponds
Grygov forest
Velký Kosíř (with M. Krist)

New Zealand (with P. Samaš, L. Polačiková)
Auckland, Hamilton

China (with W. Liang, P. Kovařík)
Kuankuoshui Reserve

Argentina (with M. A. de la Colina, B. Mahler, R. Doležal)
El Destino
 
Ecuador
Interandino region
(fieldwork done with L. Vaicenbacher)

 
  With whom?


Mike Anderson

Phill Cassey

Daniel Hanley

Mark E. Hauber

Marcel Honza

Arne Moksnes

Csaba Moskát

Eivin Røskaft

Peter Samaš

Bard G. Stokke

 

   
   Model species
Full list of publications here

 
Common cuckoo
(Cuculus canorus)

Grim Proc R Soc 2007


Video
 

Common redstart
(Phoenicurus phoenicurus)

 
Samaš et al BMC Evol Biol 2016

Video

Reed warbler
(Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
 

Grim & Honza Behav Ecol Sociobiol 2001

Great reed warbler
(Acrocephalus arundinaceus)

 
Anderson et al PLoS ONE 2009

 

 



 

Blackcap
(Sylvia atricapilla)

 

Grim Auk 2005

 

Blackbird
(Turdus merula)
 
Grim et al J Anim Ecol 2011

Song thrush
(Turdus philomelos)

 
Samas et al Front Zool 2014


Collared flycatcher
(Ficedula albicollis)

 
Krist & Grim Behav Ecol Sociobiol 2007
Great tit
(Parus major)
 
Liang et al Behav Ecol 2016
Blue tit
(Cyanistes caeruleus)

Grim Sylvia 2016