Ecophysiology of birds

– Bech Lab


The research in the avian ecophysiology group is mainly focused on various aspects of energy allocation in different species, with main projects on black-legged kittiwakes breeding in the Arctic (Svalbard) and a laboratory population of zebra finches.

Birds adjust their metabolic rate and body temperature in order to cope with changing conditions of the environment, such as temperature, prey availability and general breeding condition. Specific projects includes the influence of genetic factors in determining the variation in metabolic rate within populations, the effects of age on the metabolic rate, the effect of food quality on growth and development of chicks and sex differences in metabolic and immunological parameters.

The research group has an extensive collaboration with other research groups, both national and international. In the project Seabird population responses to changes in food conditions (SPORE) we have been involved in a study comparing kittiwakes breeding in the North Atlantic to those living in the North Pacific. In collaboration with the Centre of Conservation Biology at NTNU the research group is also involved in metabolic studies of free-living populations House Sparrows and on metabolic studies in the crustaceans of the genus Dapnia. Presently, one PhD-student (Henrik H. Berntsen) is addressing effects of early developmental condition on adult physiological performance in zebra finches. Several master students are connected to the avian ecophysiology research group, which also cooperate with the Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Fairbanks, Alaska, USA, and CEBC-CNRS (Center for Biological Studies, National Scientific Research Center) in Chizè, France.





Claus Bech. Photo by Per Harald Olsen/NTNU

Claus Bech