Petra Quillfeldt

Petra Quillfeldt
Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen | JLU · Institut für Tierökologie und Spezielle Zoologie

Prof. Dr.

About

408
Publications
82,190
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6,257
Citations
Citations since 2017
124 Research Items
2978 Citations
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Introduction
I work as a research group leader and university professor at the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany. My research primarily focuses on wild populations of long-lived birds and their responses to changes in marine and terrestrial ecosystems, including population responses to historic and recent changes in climate, foraging and diet, using direct methods (diet analyses, radio tracking, data logger technology) as well as non-invasive methods (i.e. stable isotope analysis), molecular ecology and speciation (seabirds and parrots) and behavioral regulation of trade-offs in response to variable environmental conditions.
Additional affiliations
January 2012 - present
Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (408)
Article
Body size can vary across geographical gradients, and these clines have been mainly attributed to temperature (i.e., the heat conservation hypothesis). However, in tropical areas, this pattern is not necessarily fulfilled. Furthermore, it is not known whether a body size cline is sex-biased in dimorphic species. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the...
Article
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Pelagic seabirds cover large distances efficiently and thus may reach a variety of marine habitats during breeding. Previous studies using stable isotope data and geolocators suggested that Thin-billed Prions breeding in the Falkland Islands in the Southwest Atlantic may forage in temperate waters over the Patagonian Shelf or cross the Drake Passag...
Article
Mercury pollution is a serious global environmental issue and the characterization of its distribution and its driving forces should be urgently included in research agendas. We report unusually high mercury (Hg) concentrations (>5 μg/g) along with stable isotopes values in feathers of southern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome) from colonie...
Article
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Haemosporida, vector-transmitted blood parasites, can have various effects and may also exert selection pressures on their hosts. In this study we analyse the presence of Haemosporida in a previously unstudied migratory seabird species, the red-throated diver Gavia stellata. Red-throated divers were sampled during winter and spring in the eastern G...
Article
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In this study, the annual movements of a seabird species, the red-throated diver (Gavia stellata), were investigated in space and time. Between 2015 and 2017, 33 individuals were fitted with satellite transmitters at the German Bight (eastern North Sea). In addition, stable isotope analyses of feathers (δ13C) were used to identify staging areas dur...
Article
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Migration is used by many species as a strategy to deal with a seasonally changing environment. For some species, migration patterns can vary across different or even within the same breeding area. The Common Woodpigeon Columba palumbus , an abundant and widespread Palearctic species, exhibits three migratory strategies (strictly migratory, partial...
Article
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Penguins lost the ability to fly more than 60 million years ago, subsequently evolving a hyper-specialized marine body plan. Within the framework of a genome-scale, fossil-inclusive phylogeny, we identify key geological events that shaped penguin diversification and genomic signatures consistent with widespread refugia/recolonization during major c...
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Over decades, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and trace metals like mercury (Hg) have reached the remotest areas of the world such as Antarctica by atmospheric transport. Once deposited in polar areas, low temperatures, and limited solar radiation lead to long environmental residence times, allowing the toxic substances to accumulate in biota....
Article
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The Madeiran wall lizard Teira dugesii is a relatively new species to the Azores Archipelago, where it was accidentally introduced about 150 to 200 years ago. This lacertid quickly became naturalised and now occurs in all the nine main islands of the Azores. At Praia Islet, off Graciosa Island, the Madeiran wall lizard was recently observed preying...
Article
In ecological studies sampling must be stratified to ensure a sample population that best represents the entire population studied. Meta-analyses assessing global patterns should also use a stratified data structure to ensure unbiased results. We show that this is generally not the case, as individual studies are heavily biased toward the Norther...
Article
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Even in areas as remote as the Southern Ocean, marine organisms are exposed to contaminants that arrive through long-range atmospheric transport, such as mercury (Hg), a highly toxic metal. In previous studies in the Southern Ocean, inter-specific differences in Hg contamination in seabirds was generally related to their distribution and trophic po...
Article
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Space-based tracking technology using low-cost miniature tags is now delivering data on fine-scale animal movement at near-global scale. Linked with remotely sensed environmental data, this offers a biological lens on habitat integrity and connectivity for conservation and human health; a global network of animal sentinels of environmental change.
Article
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Conservation of migratory birds requires knowledge of breeding and nonbreeding ranges and the connections between them. European turtle doves ( Streptopelia turtur ) are Palearctic-African long-distance migrants with wintering areas in the Sub-Saharan belt that are classed as vulnerable due to strong population declines. However, detailed non-breed...
Article
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Species-specific population estimates are fundamental for many aspects of ecology, evolution, and conservation, yet they are lacking for most species. Aiming to fill this gap, Callaghan et al. (1) estimated global bird population sizes by modeling the relationship between eBird reporting rates and independent estimates and extrapolating globally. W...
Article
Understanding how natural populations respond to climatic shifts is a fundamental goal of biological research in a fast‐changing world. The Southern Ocean represents a fascinating system for assessing large‐scale climate‐driven biological change, as it contains extremely isolated island groups within a predominantly westerly, circumpolar wind and c...
Article
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Morphological variation in biological structures may be driven by genetic and environmental factors, such as inter-and intraspecific competition for resources. In seabirds, although the bill is also involved in vocalization, olfaction, sexual selection and defence, the main drivers of high morphological plasticity in bill size and shape appear to r...
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Tissue samples are frequently collected to study various aspects of avian biology, but in many cases these samples are not used in their entirety and are stored by the collector. The already collected samples provide a largely overlooked opportunity because they can be used by different researchers in different biological fields. Broad reuse of sam...
Article
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Arctic birds migrating southwards face a multitude of challenges such as habitat loss, pollution, overexploitation of food resources and climate change impacts. Long-tailed Duck winter populations in the Baltic Sea have declined in recent decades. However, precise spatial data are lacking, especially from males. Thus, we aimed to identify the winte...
Article
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Interspecific introgression can occur between species that evolve rapidly within an adaptive radiation. Pachyptila petrels differ in bill size and are characterised by incomplete reproductive isolation, leading to interspecific gene flow. Salvin’s prion ( Pachyptila salvini ), whose bill width is intermediate between broad-billed ( P. vittata ) and...
Article
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Populations of migratory bird species have suffered a sustained and severe decline for several decades. Contrary to non-migratory species, understanding the causal mechanisms proves difficult (for migratory bird species) as underlying processes may operate across broad geographic ranges and stages of the annual cycle. Therefore, the identification...
Article
Habitat characteristics determine the presence and distribution of trophic resources shaping seabirds' behavioural responses which may result in physiological consequences. Such physiological consequences in relation to foraging strategies of different life-history stages have been little studied in the wild. Thus, we aim to assess differences in o...
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Aim: Macroecological analyses provide valuable insights into factors that influence how parasites are distributed across space and among hosts. Amid large uncertainties that arise when generalizing from local and regional findings, hierarchical approaches applied to global datasets are required to determine whether drivers of parasite infection pat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Aim: Understanding how wild populations respond to climatic shifts is a fundamental goal of biological research in a fast-changing world. The Southern Ocean represents a fascinating system for assessing large-scale climate-driven biological change, as it contains extremely isolated island groups within a predominantly westerly, circumpolar wind and...
Article
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Paper blog: https://blogs.oregonstate.edu/seabirdoceanographylab/2021/08/02/predators-and-marine-managed-areas/ Static (fixed-boundary) protected areas are key ocean conservation strategies, and marine higher predator distribution data can play a leading role toward identifying areas for conservation action. The Falkland Islands are a globally si...
Article
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Background Energy landscapes provide an approach to the mechanistic basis of spatial ecology and decision-making in animals. This is based on the quantification of the variation in the energy costs of movements through a given environment, as well as how these costs vary in time and for different animal populations. Organisms as diverse as fish, ma...
Article
Ecologically similar species partition their use of resources and habitats and thus coexist due to ecological segregation in space, time, or diet. In seabirds, this segregation may differ over the annual cycle or vary inter-annually. We evaluated niche segregation in 3 sympatric storm-petrel species ( Hydrobates melania , H. leucorhous , and H. mic...
Article
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Diseases can play a role in species decline. Among them, haemosporidian parasites, vector-transmitted protozoan parasites, are known to constitute a risk for different avian species. However, the magnitude of haemosporidian infection in wild columbiform birds, including strongly decreasing European turtle doves, is largely unknown. We examined the...
Article
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Although different predictive models forecast that climate change will alter the distribution and incidence of parasitic diseases, few studies have investigated how microclimatic changes may affect host-parasite relationships. In this study, we experimentally increased the temperature inside nest boxes of the blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus during the...
Article
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The Arctic is entering a new ecological state, with alarming consequences for humanity. Animal-borne sensors offer a window into these changes. Although substantial animal tracking data from the Arctic and subarctic exist, most are difficult to discover and access. Here, we present the new Arctic Animal Movement Archive (AAMA), a growing collection...
Article
Full-text available
The Arctic is entering a new ecological state, with alarming consequences for humanity. Animal-borne sensors offer a window into these changes. Although substantial animal tracking data from the Arctic and subarctic exist, most are difficult to discover and access. Here, we present the new Arctic Animal Movement Archive (AAMA), a growing collection...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury (Hg) is a toxic metal which accumulates in organisms and biomagnifies along food webs, and hence, long‐lived predators such as seabirds, are at risk due to high Hg bioaccumulation. Seabirds have been widely used to monitor the contamination of marine ecosystems. Here, we investigated Hg concentrations in blood, muscle and feathers of seven...
Article
Intraspecific competition for food can be especially high in colonial breeding seabirds. To minimize colony-induced or annual foraging challenges, diet may vary among individuals, but few studies have simultaneously investigated the effects of both extrinsic conditions (e.g. colony or year effects) and parameters of an individual (e.g. sex, age, or...
Article
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Background: The timing of events in the early part of the breeding season is crucially important for successful reproduction. Long-lived animals that migrate large distances independently of each other meet at the breeding sites to re-establish their pair bonds and coordinate their breeding duties with their partners. Methods: Using miniature li...
Article
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Background: The long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis) was categorized as ́Vulnerable` by the IUCN after a study revealed a rapid wintering population decline of 65% between 1992–1993 and 2007–2009 in the Baltic Sea. As knowl-edge about the European long-tailed duck’s life cycle and movement ecology is limited, we investigate its year-round spatiotem...
Article
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Background: While nitrogen and carbon stable isotope values can reflect ecological segregation, prey choice and spatial distribution in seabirds, the interpretation of bulk stable isotope values is frequently hampered by a lack of isotopic baseline data. In this study, we used compound-specific isotope analyses of amino acids (CSIA-AA) to overcome...
Article
Expansion of offshore wind energy is vital for the reduction of CO2 emissions. However, offshore wind farms may negatively impact the environment without proper planning. Here we assess the robustness of the conclusions of earlier studies that the strictly protected red-throated diver, Gavia stellata, is strongly displaced from wind farms in the Ge...
Article
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Penguins (Sphenisciformes) are a remarkable order of flightless wing-propelled diving seabirds distributed widely across the southern hemisphere. They share a volant common ancestor with Procellariiformes close to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (66 million years ago) and subsequently lost the ability to fly but enhanced their diving capabilities...
Article
Full-text available
European Turtle Doves (Streptopelia turtur) are long‐distance migrants and have experienced a population decline of more than 78% since 1980. Their conservation depends on refined knowledge of breeding origins and population connectivity. Feathers collected at stopover sites, but molted at breeding grounds, provide an opportunity to assign birds to...
Article
Climate shifts are key drivers of ecosystem change. Despite the critical importance of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean for global climate, the extent of climate-driven ecological change in this region remains controversial. In particular, the biological effects of changing sea ice conditions are poorly understood. We hypothesize that rapid postgl...
Article
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Long-tailed Ducks (Clangula hyemalis) breed around lakes in tundra vegetation and spend their winter at sea. Their most important wintering site in Europe is the Baltic Sea, and most of the birds wintering there breed in northern Russia. In light of recent population declines, particularly of the Baltic Sea wintering population, it is important to...
Article
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Long-tailed Ducks (Clangula hyemalis) nest in tundra habitats and are marine birds outside of the breeding season. These sea ducks are subject to negative impacts and threats throughout their annual cycle, and the population wintering in the Baltic Sea has declined dramatically in recent decades. To understand their life history and the drivers of...
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
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Rockhopper penguins are delimited as 2 species, the northern rockhopper (Eudyptes moseleyi) and the southern rockhopper (Eudyptes chrysocome), with the latter comprising 2 subspecies, the western rockhopper (Eudyptes chrysocome chrysocome) and the eastern rockhopper (Eudyptes chrysocome filholi). We conducted a phylogeographic study using multilocu...
Article
Marine habitats are nowadays strongly affected by human activities, while for many species the consequences of these impacts are still unclear. The red-throated diver (Gavia stellata) has been reported to be sensitive to ship traffic and other anthropogenic pressures and is consequently of high conservation concern. We studied red-throated divers i...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Penguins (Sphenisciformes) are a remarkable order of flightless wing-propelled diving seabirds distributed widely across the southern hemisphere. They share a volant common ancestor with Procellariiformes close to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (66 million years ago) and subsequently lost the ability to fly but enhanced their diving...
Article
Zusammenfassung de Seevögel unterliegen in antarktischen und subantarktischen Brutgebieten einer Reihe von Herausforderungen, wie Schwankungen des Nahrungsangebots und Veränderungen des Ökosystems im Zuge des Klimawandels, Aggregation und Konkurrenz durch die begrenzte Zahl passender Brutgebiete sowie teils unzugängliche Brutgebiete durch Veränderu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Successful conservation strategies require frequent observations and assessments of the landscape. Although expert surveys provide a great level of detail, the trade-off is the limited spatial coverage and repetition with which they are executed. Remote sensing technology can partially resolve these issues; nevertheless, it still requires experts’...
Article
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The Patagonian Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem supports high levels of biodiversity and endemism and is one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world. Despite the important role marine predators play in structuring ecosystems, areas of high diversity where multiple predators congregate remains poorly known on the Patagonian Shelf. Here, we...
Article
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In Europe, the German Bight is one of the most important non-breeding areas for protected red-throated divers (Gavia stellata). It is unclear what attracts the birds to this area, especially as the food composition of seabirds outside the breeding season is notoriously difficult to study. To obtain information on prey species composition of red-thr...
Data
This paper is open access. It is available at: https://academic.oup.com/mbe/advance-article/doi/10.1093/molbev/msz090/5480301 The final pdf is still not available. Thank you for your interest. Cheers, JUAN
Data
This paper is open access. It is available at: https://academic.oup.com/mbe/advance-article/doi/10.1093/molbev/msz090/5480301 The final pdf is still not available. Thank you for your interest. Cheers, JUAN
Article
Full-text available
Speciation through homoploid hybridization (HHS) is considered extremely rare in animals. This is mainly because the establishment of reproductive isolation as a product of hybridization is uncommon. Additionally, many traits are underpinned by polygeny and/or incomplete dominance, where the hybrid phenotype is an additive blend of parental charact...
Article
Full-text available
Background Avian Haemosporida are vector-borne parasites that commonly infect Passeriformes. Molecular analyses revealed a high number of different lineages and lineage specific traits like prevalence and host-specificity, but knowledge of parasite prevalence and lineage diversity in wild birds in Central Germany is still lacking. Results Blood sa...
Article
Full-text available
Background In long-lived seabirds that migrate large distances independently of each other, the early part of the breeding season is crucially important for a successful reproductive attempt. During this phase, pair bonds are re-established and partners coordinate their breeding duties. We studied the early breeding season in Thin-billed prions Pac...
Article
Full-text available
Hemogregarine parasites are found in many vertebrates, being most prevalent in reptiles, with lizards being the second most common hosts after snakes. Hepatozoon is the most widespread of the four genera that parasitize reptiles by infecting red blood cells. The Hepatozoon lifecycle requires blood–sucking invertebrates as vectors, and vector abunda...
Article
Full-text available
Background Fishing activities can influence foraging behaviour of many seabird species worldwide. Seabirds are attracted by fishing vessels which can facilitate access to demersal fish as a novel food resource that otherwise would be unavailable. On the other hand, intense fishing activities cause depletion of fish stocks with a reduction of natura...