Erica Calabretta, MSc

Scopoli’s shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) Breeding colony at Linosa Island, Sicily

PhD student

Fellow of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

As a naturalist and ecologist, I am particularly eager to explore how living beings interact with the surrounding environment and its components. Nowadays, climate changes, alteration and loss of habitats are among the principal causes of the decline of migratory birds. My PhD project aims to understand whether and how ecological conditions in non-breeding areas have carry-over effects on spring migration ecology in wild birds. Specifically, I am interested in studying how environmental variations in the wintering areas and the Mediterranean route influence the phenology and physiology of long-distance migrants at a stopover site. In addition, I am curious to examine whether winter habitat quality and birds’ condition affect the acute stress response during the stopover stage.

To answer my questions, I propose a multidirectional approach that combines several physiology and ecological tools. The research takes place on Ponza Island, one of the main stopover sites along the Central Mediterranean migratory corridor, and the studied species are trans-Saharan passerines.

Project: “Birds in two worlds: carry-over effects of environmental and individual winter conditions on spring migration ecology”

Funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) – Doc Fellowship 26059