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Wolfgang Goymann

Wolfgang Goymann
Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence

Prof. Dr. rer. nat.

About

175
Publications
25,910
Reads
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6,318
Citations
Citations since 2017
72 Research Items
3160 Citations
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Introduction
To survive and successfully reproduce, an animal’s morphology, physiology and behavior needs to be tuned to environmental conditions. Hence, animals have evolved many character traits and adopted various life-history strategies to cope with environmental challenges. I am interested in the interplay between physiology, behavior and ecology and how different environments and life histories shape physiological control mechanisms. http://www.orn.mpg.de/4016/Physiological-Ecology-of-life-histories
Additional affiliations
April 2016 - present
Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
Position
  • Professor
April 2008 - March 2016
Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
Position
  • Privatdozent
January 2007 - present
Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
Position
  • MPI für Ornithologie
Education
April 2003 - April 2008
January 1996 - December 1999
Max-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie
Field of study
March 1991 - October 1995
Freie Universität Berlin and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (175)
Article
A long-standing tenet of evolutionary endocrinology states that testosterone mediates the life-history trade-off between mating and paternal care. However, the support for a role of testosterone in suppressing paternal care is mixed: implantation studies in birds suggest that high-level testosterone implants suppress paternal care, but circulating...
Article
For male vertebrates, androgens are considered physiological mediators of the trade-off between mating and parenting effort. About 30 years ago, the challenge hypothesis provided a conceptual framework to explain the variation in androgen levels among individuals and species, primarily as a function of male competition and parental care. Initially...
Article
Full-text available
In 2017, more than 15,000 scientists signed a second warning to humanity to halt human‐made destruction of our planet. The authors of that study encouraged further contributions highlighting specific subjects. With this perspectives article, we follow their call and explore why and how behavioural studies can matter for a better stewardship of the...
Article
Full-text available
In most animals, competition for mating opportunities is higher among males, whereas females are more likely to provide parental care. In few species, though, these "conventional" sex roles are reversed such that females compete more strongly for matings and males provide most or all parental care. This "reversal" in sex roles is often combined wit...
Article
Full-text available
Phylogenetically controlled studies across multiple species correct for taxonomic confounds in physiological performance traits. Therefore, they are preferred over comparisons of two or few closely-related species. Funding bodies, referees and journal editors nowadays often even reject to consider detailed comparisons of two or few closely related...
Article
Biomedical and social scientists are increasingly calling the biological sex into question, arguing that sex is a graded spectrum rather than a binary trait. Leading science journals have been adopting this relativist view, thereby opposing fundamental biological facts. While we fully endorse efforts to create a more inclusive environment for gende...
Chapter
Eberhard (Ebo) Gwinner was a German ornithologist and chronobiologist. Following his doctorate in classical ethology, further formative experiences included postdoctoral training in biological rhythms and behavioral endocrinology. Gwinner combined these backgrounds to coin his trademark, integrative research on biological timekeeping under both nat...
Preprint
Reproductive phenotypes are shaped by genetic, physiological and environmental variation that an organism experiences during ontogeny. Steroid hormones play an integrative role in this process through both genomic and non-genomic pathways. Differences in steroid hormone metabolism may be rooted in genomic variation. Here we evaluate the influence o...
Article
Full-text available
In species with separate sexes, females and males often differ in their morphology, physiology and behaviour. Such sex-specific traits are functionally linked to variation in reproductive competition, mate choice and parental care, which have all been linked to sex roles. At the 150th anniversary of Darwin's theory on sexual selection, the question...
Article
Experimental manipulations of testosterone have advanced our understanding of the hormonal control of traits across vertebrates. Implants are commonly used to supplement testosterone and other hormones to organisms, as they can be readily scaled to produce desired hormone levels in circulation. Concerns about pharmacological (i.e. unnatural) doses...
Preprint
Full-text available
Experimental manipulations of testosterone have advanced our understanding of the hormonal control of traits across vertebrates. Implants are commonly used to supplement testosterone and other hormones to organisms, as they can be readily scaled to produce desired hormone levels in circulation. Concerns about pharmacological (i.e. unnatural) doses...
Article
Full-text available
Chromosomal inversions frequently underlie major phenotypic variation maintained by divergent selection within and between sexes. Here we examine whether and how intralocus conflicts contribute to balancing selection stabilizing an autosomal inversion polymorphism in the ruff Calidris pugnax. In this lekking shorebird, three male mating morphs (Ind...
Article
Full-text available
Movement of the embryo is essential for musculoskeletal development in vertebrates, yet little is known about whether, and why, species vary. Avian brood parasites exhibit feats of strength in early life as adaptations to exploit the hosts that rear them. We hypothesized that an increase in embryonic movement could allow brood parasites to develop...
Article
Full-text available
Background In egg-laying animals, mothers can influence the developmental environment and thus the phenotype of their offspring by secreting various substances into the egg yolk. In birds, recent studies have demonstrated that different yolk substances can interactively affect offspring phenotype, but the implications of such effects for offspring...
Preprint
Full-text available
Chromosomal inversions frequently underlie major phenotypic variation maintained by divergent selection within and between sexes. Here we examine whether and how intralocus conflicts contribute to balancing selection stabilizing an autosomal inversion polymorphism in the ruff Calidris pugnax. In this lekking shorebird, three male mating morphs (Ind...
Article
Full-text available
Noise pollution has been linked to learning and language deficits in children, but the causal mechanisms connecting noise to cognitive deficiencies remain unclear because experimental models are lacking. Here, we investigated the effects of noise on birdsong learning, the primary animal model for vocal learning and speech development in humans. We...
Article
Endocrine systems act as key intermediaries between organisms and their environments. This interaction leads to high variability in hormone levels, but we know little about the ecological factors that influence this variation within and across major vertebrate groups. We study this topic by assessing how various social and environmental dynamics in...
Article
Full-text available
Background The connection between testosterone and territoriality in free-living songbirds has been well studied in a reproductive context, but less so outside the breeding season. To assess the effects of seasonal androgenic action on territorial behavior, we analyzed vocal and non-vocal territorial behavior in response to simulated territorial in...
Article
Full-text available
In socially monogamous species, pair-bonded males often continue to provide care to all offspring in their nests despite some degree of paternity loss due to female extra-pair copulation. Previous theoretical models suggested that females can use their within-pair offspring as ‘hostages' to blackmail their social mates, so that they continue to pro...
Article
The predictable oscillation between the light of day and the dark of night across the diel cycle is a powerful selective force that has resulted in anticipatory mechanisms in nearly all taxa. At polar latitudes, however, this oscillation becomes highly attenuated during the continuous light of polar day during summer. A general understanding of how...
Article
The evolution of social behavior depends on genetic changes, yet, how genomic variation manifests itself in behavioral diversity is still largely unresolved. Chromosomal inversions can play a pivotal role in producing distinct behavioral phenotypes, in particular, when inversion genes are functionally associated with hormone synthesis and signaling...
Article
Full-text available
Elite human and animal athletes must acquire the fuels necessary for extreme feats, but also contend with the oxidative damage associated with peak metabolic performance. Here, we show that a migratory bird with fuel stores composed of more omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) expended 11% less energy during long-duration (6 hr) flights with no chan...
Article
Full-text available
One of the key elements of an animal's Darwinian fitness is its ability to adequately respond to and cope with challenging situations. Glucocorticoid hormones, such as corticosterone, affect the organism's ability to overcome the challenge. We hypothesized that changes in the glucocorticoid response curve contribute to the evolution of increased pe...
Article
The Challenge Hypothesis was developed to explain why and how regulatory mechanisms underlying patterns of testosterone secretion vary so much across species and populations as well as among and within individuals. The hypothesis has been tested many times over the past 30 years in all vertebrate groups as well as some invertebrates. Some experimen...
Article
Full-text available
Rates of human-induced environmental change continue increasing with human population size, potentially altering animal physiology and negatively affecting wildlife. Researchers often use glucocorticoid concentrations (hormones that can be associated with stressors) to gauge the impact of anthropogenic factors (e.g. urbanization, noise and light po...
Article
Full-text available
Comparative studies have established the necessity for biparental care as an important factor for monogamy in freshwater fish and birds. However, whether two parents are really needed for offspring care remains an open question in many cases. I experimentally studied female and male contributions to offspring care in the white‐browed coucal (Centro...
Article
Full-text available
The impact of human activity on the acoustic environment is overwhelming, with anthropogenic noise reaching even remote areas of the planet. The World Health Organization has identified noise pollution as one of the leading environmental health risks in humans, and it has been linked to a myriad of short- and long-term health effects in exposed ind...
Article
The 24 h geophysical light-dark cycle is the main organizer of daily rhythms, scheduling physiology and behavior. This cycle attenuates greatly during the continuous light of summer at polar latitudes, resulting in species-specific and even individual-specific patterns of behavioral rhythmicity, but the physiological mechanisms underlying this vari...
Article
The Challenge Hypothesis was developed to explain why and how regulatory mechanisms underlying patterns of testosterone secretion vary so much across species and populations as well as among and within individuals. The hypothesis has been tested many times over the past 30years in all vertebrate groups as well as some invertebrates. Some experiment...
Article
Full-text available
The necessity to do basic research, such as the study of animal behaviour, is often questioned. “What is this good for?” people may ask. Many discoveries of basic research lead to novel and practical applications that could not have been predicted in advance. In fact, every penny spent on basic research generates a multiple of economic value in ret...
Article
According to the Challenge Hypothesis, social interactions, particularly among males, have a strong influence on circulating androgen levels. Specifically, males should respond to social challenges from conspecific males with a rapid increase in plasma androgen levels which support and stimulate further aggression. This basic tenet of the Challenge...
Article
Full-text available
Providing parental care often reduces additional mating opportunities. Paternal care becomes easier to understand if trade-offs between mating and caring remain mild. The black coucal Centropus grillii combines male-only parental care with 50% of all broods containing young sired by another male. To understand how much caring for offspring reduces...
Article
Glucocorticoid (GC) hormones are important phenotypic mediators across vertebrates, but their circulating concentrations can vary markedly. Here we investigate macroevolutionary patterning in GC levels across tetrapods by testing seven specific hypotheses about GC variation and evaluating whether the supported hypotheses reveal consistent patterns...
Article
Full-text available
In sex-role-reversed species, females are typically the more competitive sex, defending territories and access to mates, while males take care of the young, often without any help from the female. In males of species with traditional sex roles, testosterone levels generally rise during the breeding season and modulate territorial and aggressive beh...
Article
Full-text available
Background Certainty of paternity is considered an important factor in the evolution of paternal care. Several meta-analyses across birds support this idea, particularly for species with altricial young. However, the role of certainty of paternity in the evolution and maintenance of exclusive paternal care in the black coucal (Centropus grillii), w...
Article
Collective signalling occurs in diverse animal groups. A particularly well-studied form of this sophisticated communication behaviour is vocal duetting in birds, in which members of a mated pair coordinate their songs on short temporal scales. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain the function of bird duets, but the experimental evidence fo...
Article
Collective signalling occurs in diverse animal groups. A particularly well-studied form of this sophisticated communication behaviour is vocal duetting in birds, in which members of a mated pair coordinate their songs on short temporal scales. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain the function of bird duets, but the experimental evidence fo...
Conference Paper
In this work, we introduce a microfluidic electrochemical platform to measure hormone levels of birds on-site. Herein, a low-cost and easy-to-handle biosensor is combined with a single-step competitive enzyme linked immunoassay. It enables to work with very low sample volumes (less than 600 nanoliters) along with a short sample-to-result time (abou...
Preprint
Full-text available
The environment where an embryo develops can be influenced by components of maternal origin, which can shape offspring phenotypes and therefore maternal fitness. In birds that produce more than one egg per clutch, females differ in the concentration of components they allocate into the yolk along the laying sequence. However, identification of proc...
Article
The environment where an embryo develops can be influenced by components of maternal origin, which can shape offspring phenotypes and therefore maternal fitness. In birds that produce more than one egg per clutch, females differ in the concentration of components they allocate into the yolk along the laying sequence. However, identification of proc...
Cover Page
Full-text available
A pair of rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus) building the nest. In males, aggressive behaviour differentially related to progesterone and testosterone levels depending on the life-stage, but the progesterone-to-testosterone ratio increases independent of the life-stage (Adreani et al., this issue). Illustration with the permission of Alena Lemazina.
Article
Behaviors such as territorial interactions among individuals can modulate vertebrate physiology and vice versa. Testosterone has been pointed out as a key hormone that can be rapidly affected by aggressive interactions. However, experimental evidence for such a link is mixed. In addition, behaviors can elicit changes in multiple hormones, which in...
Article
Circulating glucocorticoids (GCs) are the most commonly used biomarker of stress in wildlife. However, their utility as a tool for identifying and/or managing at-risk species has varied. Here, we took a very broad approach to conservation physiology, asking whether IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) listing status (concern ve...
Article
At macroevolutionary scales, stress physiology may have consequences for species diversification and subspecies richness. Populations that exploit new resources or undergo range expansion should cope with new environmental challenges, which could favour higher mean stress responses. Within-species variation in the stress response may also play a ro...
Article
Glucocorticoids are stress hormones that can strongly influence physiology, behavior and an organism's ability to cope with environmental change. Despite their importance, and the wealth of studies that have sought to understand how and why glucocorticoid (GC) concentrations vary within species, we do not have a clear understanding of how circulati...
Article
Animals go through different life history stages such as reproduction, moult, or migration, of which some are more energy-demanding than others. Baseline concentrations of glucocorticoid hormones increase during moderate, predictable challenges and thus are expected to be higher when seasonal energy demands increase, such as during reproduction. By...
Article
Environmental cues, such as photoperiod, regulate the timing of major life-history events like breeding through direct neuroendocrine control. Less known is how supplementary environmental cues (e.g., nest sites, food availability) interact to influence key hormones and behaviors involved in reproduction, specifically in migratory species with gona...
Article
Full-text available
Hormones are central regulators of organismal function and flexibility that mediate a diversity of phenotypic traits from early development through senescence. Yet despite these important roles, basic questions about how and why hormone systems vary within and across species remain unanswered. Here we describe HormoneBase, a database of circulating...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The Murnauer Moos is the largest, more or less intact wetland and bog in Central Europe with a formerly large popu- lation of whinchats (Saxicola rubetra). Even though a large part of the area is protected as nature reserve and Natura 2000 site, whinchats have disappeared from many of their former territories. To support the local population, meado...
Article
Full-text available
During migration, birds need to optimize their time and/or energy management, especially during stop-overs. Previous studies with caged birds under controlled condition support the notion that departure decisions are condition-dependent, but they did not take into account the availability or the actual intake of food. In the study reported here we...
Article
Full-text available
The period of parental care can be a demanding life-history stage because parents need to find sufficient resources to feed themselves and their offspring. Often, this is reflected by elevated baseline levels of glucocorticoids—hormones that regulate metabolism and energy allocation. During 10 breeding seasons, we studied plasma corticosterone (the...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Twice a year, billions of birds migrate across continents. Along their route, most species spend considerable time at stopover sites to replenish their fuel stores. What physiological signals tell them when they are ready to continue their journey? Ghrelin is a recently discovered hormone involved in appetite regulation. We found that...
Article
Full-text available
Avian duets have long fascinated biologists, but much remains unknown about what information may be contained in these collective displays and how duet structures vary between taxa. In this study, we describe the structure and performance rules of duets in White-browed Coucals Centropus superciliosus, a tropical non-parasitic Cuckoo. We recorded vo...
Article
Testosterone mediates reproductive behaviours in male vertebrates. For example, breeding season territoriality depends on testosterone in many species of birds and in some, territorial interactions feed back on testosterone concentrations. However, the degree to which territorial behaviour and testosterone are associated differs even between specie...
Article
Full-text available
The decision to provide parental care is often associated with trade-offs, because resources allocated to parental care typically cannot be invested in self-maintenance or mating. In most animals, females providemore parental care thanmales, but the reason for this pattern is still debated in evolutionary ecology. To better understand sex differenc...
Data
Supplementary analysis and data for Goymann W., Safari I., Muck C., Schwabl I. 2016 Sex roles, parental care and offspring growth in two contrasting coucal species. Royal Society Open Science 3, 160463. Feeding rate analysis Alternative feeding rate analysis using the number of nestlings and the mean age of nestlings instead of brood body mass Gro...
Article
Full-text available
Testosterone is an important sex hormone and mediates reproduction in male vertebrates. There is ample evidence that testosterone coordinates the expression of physiological, morphological, and behavioral traits during reproduction and many of these traits are under sexual selection. However, only few studies so far have examined if individual vari...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Glucocorticoids are adrenal steroid hormones essential to homeostatic maintenance. Their daily variation at low concentrations regulates physiology and behavior to sustain proper immunological and metabolic function. Glucocorticoids rise well above these baseline levels during stress to elicit emergency-state responses that increase sh...
Article
During migration, birds spend more than 80 % of the time at stopover sites to rest and refuel before and after crossing ecological barriers such as deserts or seas. Since stopover has intrinsic costs in terms of energy and time, birds should try to minimize its duration, which is dependent on the combined effects of environmental factors, endogenou...
Article
Full-text available
Behavior of wild vertebrate individuals can vary in response to environmental or social factors. Such within-individual behavioral variation is often mediated by hormonal mechanisms. Hormones also serve as a basis for among-individual variations in behavior including animal personalities and the degree of responsiveness to environmental and social...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
During migration, birds undergo continuous changes in body condition: sustained migratory flights over ecological barriers, such as deserts and seas, lead to a rapid fat consumption, thus birds spend a considerable amount of time at stopover sites to refuel. Furthermore, migrants are subjected to dramatic changes in their life pattern: most passeri...
Article
In this study, we describe an approach based on an individual's hormonal reactive scope to study short-term effects of hormones on behavior. The control of territorial aggression has been traditionally linked to testosterone. Males of some vertebrate species show an increase in testosterone during territorial interactions and implantation studies s...
Article
Full-text available
Managing oxidative stress is an important physiological function for all aerobic organisms, particularly during periods of prolonged high metabolic activity, such as long-distance migration across ecological barriers. However, no previous study has investigated the oxidative status of birds at different stages of migration and whether that oxidativ...
Article
Why mainly males compete and females take a larger share in parental care remains an exciting question in evolutionary biology. Role-reversed species are of particular interest, because such exceptions' help to test the rule. Using mating systems theory as a framework, we compared the reproductive ecology of the two most contrasting coucals with re...
Article
Full-text available
During migration, many songbirds encounter large ecological barriers, like deserts and seas that require substantial fuel to cross and can lead to dehydration during passage. If muscle is not catabolized to generate metabolic water, birds must seek free water on a subsequent stopover to replenish the water lost. Yet, no work has examined if birds c...
Article
Hormone manipulations are of increasing interest in the areas of physiological ecology and evolution, because hormones are mediators of complex phenotypic changes. Often, however, hormone manipulations in field settings follow the approaches that have been used in classical endocrinology, potentially using supra-physiological doses. To answer ecolo...
Chapter
In his seminal paper about potential circannual rhythms, Aschoff (1955) predicted their presence in species that live in relatively constant, tropical environments. Detailed follow-up investigations largely supported this idea, but life-history stages (such as breeding, moult, migration) of wild tropical species can both be rhythmic or arrhythmic....