Liverpool Skylilne

Natural Sciences and Psychology

Dr Claudia Mettke-Hofmann

Dr Claudia Mettke-Hofmann

Telephone: 0151 231 2247

Biography

Research interests
My research field is the ‘Evolution of Cognitive Abilities in Birds’ with a strong interest in the interaction between behaviour and ecology, particularly cognitive ecology. I investigate how evolutionary forces such as ecological factors, social organization, and life-style have shaped information gathering, learning, and memory on the species, population and individual (personality traits) level. My research involves basic as well as applied research (animal welfare, conservation). I use cost/benefit considerations to predict cognitive differences on the species to the individual level and integrate behavioural and physiological methods.

Study animals:
I have worked with a variety of parrot species (>80 species) and, more recently, with old-world (warblers, tits, chats) and new-world songbirds (icterids). Currently, the Gouldian finch is my study subject.

Research projects
• Personality traits in relation to colour polymorphism in the Gouldian finch
• Neophobia in Gouldian finches
• Background preferences in Gouldian finches
• Assessing habitat requirements of the strongly declining Rusty blackbird
• Feather conditions in young corvids

Current PGR students:
• Georgina R. Eccles: Habituation processes in neophobia reactions
• Alexandra R. Hawthorn: Investigation into the causes of bad feather condition in young corvids admitted to Rehabilitation Centres

Former PGR students:
• Yvette L. Foulds (MPhil): The effectiveness of mixed species aviaries in terms of bird breeding and survival within zoological collections.
• Leah J. Williams (PhD): Leadership and personality traits in the Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae); in collaboration with Dr. Andrew J. King, Department of Bioscience, College of Science, Swansea University, Swansea, UK (funded by the School of Natural Sciences & Psychology with HEFCE research allocation)
• Madeleine Scriba (PhD; external supervisor): Sleep and learning in birds; Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Avian Sleep Group, Seewiesen, Germany; and Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
• Christina Stanley (PhD; external supervisor): A Study of Equid Sociality: its structure, complexity and the influence of individuals; School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Manchester University
• Zoltan Nemeth (PhD; external supervisor): Information acquisition and sociality among migratory birds. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern Mississippi, USA

Degrees

1993, Free University of Berlin, Germany, PhD
1990, Free University of Berlin, Germany, Diploma (equiv. to Master) in Biology

Academic appointments

Reader in Animal Behaviour, School of Natural Sciences & Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, 2014 - present
Senior Lecturer in Animal Behaviour, School of Natural Sciences & Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, 2007 - 2014
Research Scientist, Conservation Biology, Smithsonian Institution (SI), 2007 - 2007
Smithsonian Research Associate, Conservation Biology, Smithsonian Institution (SI), 2006 - 2012
Scientific Research position, Biological Rhythms & Behaviour, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (MPG), 2005 - 2006
Smithsonian Fellowship, Conservation Biology, Smithsonian Institution (SI), 2004 - 2005
Scientific Research position, Biological Rhythms & Behaviour, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (MPG), 2000 - 2004

Postgraduate training

Postdoctoral Fellow, Germany, Max Planck Reseach Centre for Ornithology, 1997 - 1999
Postdoctoral Fellow, Germany, Free University of Berlin, 1994 - 1997

Publications

Journal article

Perkovic K, Mettke-Hofmann C. 2018. Colour polymorphic Gouldian finches avoid complex backgrounds but prefer simple camouflage colours over white backgrounds Applied Animal Behaviour Science, >DOI

Braun MP, Reinschnidt M, Datzmann T, Waugh D, Zamora R, Haebich A, Neves L, Gerlach H, Arndt T, Mettke-Hofmann C, Sauer-Guerth H, Wink M. 2018. Influences of oceanic islands and the Pleistocene on the biogeography and evolution of two groups of Australasian parrots (Aves: Psittaciformes: Eclectus roratus, Trichoglossus haematodus complex). Rapid evolution and implications for taxonomy and conservation European Journal of Ecology, 3 :47-66 >Link

Stanley CR, Mettke-Hofmann C, Hager R, Shultz S. 2018. Social stability in semi-feral ponies: networks show inter-annual stability alongside seasonal flexibility Animal Behaviour, 136 :175-184 >DOI

Stanley CR, Mettke-Hofmann C, Preziosi R. 2017. Personality in the Cockroach (Diploptera punctate): Evidence for Stability Across Developmental Stages Despite Age Effects on Boldness PLoS ONE, >DOI

Scriba MF, Gasparini J, Jacquin L, Mettke-Hofmann C, Rattenborg NC, Roulin A. 2016. The effect of food quality during growth on spatial memory consolidation in adult pigeons. J Exp Biol, 220 :573-581 >DOI >Link

Nilsson ALK, Nilsson J-A, Mettke-Hofmann C. 2016. Energy Reserves, Information Need and a Pinch of Personality Determine Decision-Making on Route in Partially Migratory Blue Tits PLoS One, >DOI

Mettke-Hofmann CCP. 2016. Avian movements in a modern world - cognitive challenges Animal Cognition, 20 :77-86

Mettke-Hofmann C, Hamel PB, Hofmann G, Zenzal TJ, Pellegrini A, Malpass J, Garfinkel M, Schiff N, Greenberg R. 2015. Competition and habitat quality influence age and sex distribution in wintering Rusty Blackbirds PLoS One, 5 >DOI

King AJ, Williams LJ, Mettke-Hofmann C. 2015. The effects of social conformity on Gouldian finch personality Animal Behaviour, 99 :25-31

Mettke-Hofmann C. 2014. Cognitive ecology – ecological factors, life-styles and cognition WIREs Cognitive Science, 5 :345-360 >DOI

Mettke-Hofmann C, Winkler H, Hamel PB, Greenberg R. 2013. Migratory New World blackbirds (icterids) are more neophobic than closely related resident icterids. PLoS One, 8 :e57565 >DOI >Link

Scriba MF, Harmening WM, Mettke-Hofmann C, Vyssotski AL, Roulin A, Wagner H, Rattenborg NC. 2013. Evaluation of two minimally invasive techniques for electroencephalogram recording in wild or freely behaving animals. J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol, 199 :183-189 >DOI >Link

Williams LJ, King AJ, Mettke-Hofmann C. 2012. Colourful characters: Head colour reflects personality in a social bird, the Gouldian finch, Erythrura gouldiae Animal Behaviour, 84 :159-165 >DOI

Mettke-Hofmann C. 2012. The effect of head colour and age on personality traits in a social setting. Ethology, 118 :906-916

Mettke-Hofmann C. 2012. Head Colour and Age Relate to Personality Traits in Gouldian Finches Ethology, 118 :906-916 >DOI

Williams LJ, King AJ, Mettke-Hofmann C. 2012. Colourful characters: head colour reflects personality in a social bird, the Gouldian finch, Erythrura gouldiae ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 84 :159-165 >DOI >Link

Mettke-Hofmann CCP, Wink M, Braun M, Winkler H. 2012. Residency and a broad feeding spectrum are related to extensive spatial exploration in parrots. Behavioral Ecology,

Mettke-Hofmann CCP, Wink M, Braun M, Winkler H. 2012. Residency and a broad feeding spectrum are related to extensive spatial exploration in parrots Behavioral Ecology, 6 :1365-1375

Sueur C, King AJ, Conradt L, Kerth G, Lusseau D, Mettke-Hofmann C, Schaffner CM, Williams L, Zinner D, Aureli F. 2011. Collective decision-making and fission-fusion dynamics: a conceptual framework OIKOS, 120 :1608-1617 >DOI >Link

Sueur C, King AJ, Conradt L, Kerth G, Lusseau D, Mettke-Hofmann C, Schaffner CM, Williams L, Zinner D, Aureli F. 2011. Collective decision-making and fission-fusion dynamics: a conceptual framework OIKOS, 120 :1608-1617

Greenberg R, Demarest D, Matsuoka S, Mettke-Hofmann C, Droege S, Evers D, Hamel PB, Hodgman TP, Luscier J. 2011. Understanding declines in Rusty blackbirds (Euphagus carolinus). Journal of Avian Biology, 41 :107-125

Mettke-Hofmann C, Sinclair P, Hamel PB, Greenberg R. 2010. Implications of prebasic and a previously undescribed prealternate molt on aging Rusty Blackbirds Condor, 112 :854-861 >DOI

Hobson KA, Greenberg R, van Wilgenburg S, Mettke-Hofmann C. 2010. Migratory connectivity in the Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) in North America. Isotopic evidence from feathers of historic and contemporary specimens Condor, 112 :778-788 >DOI

Edmonds ST, Evers DC, O Driscoll NJ, Mettke-Hofmann C, Powell L, Cristol D, McGann AJ, Armiger JW, Lane O, Tessler D, Newell P. 2010. Geographic and seasonal variation in mercury exposure of the declining Rusty Blackbird Condor, 112 :789-799 >DOI

Barnard W, Mettke-Hofmann C, Matsuoka S. 2010. Prevalence of hematozoa infections among breeding and wintering Rusty Blackbirds. Condor, 112 :849-853

Mettke-Hofmann C, Lorentzen S, Schlicht E, Schneider J, Werner F. 2009. Spatial Neophilia and Spatial Neophobia in Resident and Migratory Warblers (Sylvia) Ethology, 115 :482-492 >DOI

Mettke-Hofmann C. 2007. Object exploration of garden and Sardinian warblers peaks in spring. Ethology, 113 :174-182

Mettke-Hofmann C. 2007. Context-specific neophilia and its consequences for innovations Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 30 :419-420

Mettke-Hofmann C, Rowe K, Hayden T, Canoine V. 2006. Effects of experience and object complexity on exploration in garden warblers (Sylvia borin). Journal of Zoology, 268 :405-413

Mettke-Hofmann C, Wink M, Winkler H, Leisler B. 2005. Exploration of environmental changes relates to lifestyle Behavioral Ecology, 16 :247-254

Mettke-Hofmann C, Ebert C, Schmidt T, Steiger S, Stieb S. 2005. Personality traits in resident and migratory warbler species. Behaviour, 142 :1357-1375

Mettke-Hofmann C, Gwinner E. 2004. Differential assessment of environmental information in a migratory and a non-migratory passerine Animal Behaviour, 68 :1079-1086

Mettke-Hofmann C, Gwinner E. 2003. Long-term memory for a life on the move. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 100 :5863-5866 >DOI >Link

Mettke-Hofmann C, Winkler H, Leisler B. 2002. The significance of ecological factors for exploration and neophobia in parrots Ethology, 108 :249-272

Greenberg R, Mettke-Hofmann C. 2001. Ecological aspects of neophobia and neophilia in birds Current Ornithology, 16 :119-178

Mettke-Hofmann C. 2000. Reactions of nomadic and resident parrot species Psittacidae to environmental enrichment at the Max-Planck-Institut. International Zoo Yearbook, 37 :244-256

Mettke-Hofmann C. 2000. Changes in exploration from courtship to the breeding state in red-rumped parrots (Psephotus haematonotus) Behavioural Processes, 49 :139-148

Other

Stanley CR, Mettke-Hofmann C, Hager R, Shultz S. 2017. Social stability in semi-feral ponies: networks show inter-annual stability alongside seasonal flexibility Animal Behaviour, 136 :175-184

Chapters

Mettke-Hofmann CCP. 2017. Neophobia Vonk J, Shackelford TK. Springer International Publishing >DOI

Mettke-Hofmann C. 2010. Learning and cognition in resident and migrant birds. Zhang W, Liu H. Behavioral and Chemical Ecology :155-172 Nova Science. New York

Mettke-Hofmann C, Greenberg R. 2005. Behavioral and cognitive adaptations to long-distance migration Greenberg R, Marra PP. Birds of two Worlds: The Ecology and Evolution of Migratory Birds :114-123 Johns Hopkins University Press

Thaler E, Pegoraro K, Mettke-Hofmann C. 2002. The influence of controlled imprinting on the behaviour of hand-raised birds. Mettke-Hofmann C, Gansloßer U. Bird Research and Breeding :125-136 Filander Verlag. Fürth

Mettke-Hofmann C, Hofmann G. 2002. Breeding success and colour of nest lining material - is there a relationship? Mettke-Hofmann C, Gansloßer U. Bird Research and Breeding :137-152 Filander Verlag. Fürth

Book

Van den Elzen R, Hofmann G, Mettke-Hofmann C. 2007. Prachtfinken Nicolai J, Steinbacher J. Ulmer Verlag. Stuttgart

Engagement & Impact

Award:

Smithsonian Research Associate, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Smithsonian Research Associate, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Conference organisation:

European Conference on Behavioural Biology, Chair of Organising Committee, https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/conferences/ECBB

Research and Captive Propagation in Birds, Organiser

Understanding declines in the Rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus): An indicator of wooded wetland health, Organiser

Editorial boards:

PLOS ONE, Section Editor

PLoSONE, Academic Editor

External collaboration:

College of Science, Swansea University, Andrew J. King

North of England Zoological Society, Chester Zoo, Roger Wilkinson

Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Susanne Shultz

Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis Department of Biology University of Oslo, Anna Nilsson

Dept. of Biology, University of Western Ontario, Canada, Christopher G. Guglielmo

Konrad-Lorenz Institute for Comparative Ethology, Vienna, Austria, Hans Winkler

Dept. of Biology, Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA, Michael Romero

Canadian Wildlife Service, Saskatoon, Canada, Keith Hobson

USDA, Forest Service, Mississippi, USA, Paul B. Hamel

Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Washington, DC, USA, Russell Greenberg

External committees:

Steering Committee, International Rusty Blackbird Technical Working Group, Co-chair

PhD committee, University of Southern Mississippi, Invited external supervisor

External PGR examinations performed:

University of Cambridge, PhD, A critical evaluation of neophobia in corvids: causes, consequences and conservation implications

University of Birmingham, PhD, COMPARATIVE SENSORY & COGNITIVE ADAPTATIONS FOR EXPLORATORY LEARNING IN PARROTS & HUMANS

University of Southern Mississippi, PhD, Information Acquisition and Sociality among Migratory Birds

External PGR Supervision - completed students:

University of Lausanne, PhD, Learning, memory and sleep in birds

University of Manchester, PhD, Influence of kinship, social bonds and genetics on animal social structure

University of Lausanne, PhD

University of Southern Mississippi, PhD

Fellowships:

PhD fellowship, German Science Foundation

Postdoctoral fellowship, German Science Foundations

Postdoctoral fellowship, Max Planck Institution

Smithsonian Fellowship, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Washington DC

Membership of professional bodies:

Member, German Ornithological Society

member, German Zoological Society

member, European Ornithological Union

Member, German Ethological Society

Other Professional Activity:

participation in a project to outline a minimum set of competencies for scientific editors led by the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Canada.

Public engagement:

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, public talk about bird breeding and science to aviculturists, conferecne talk, aviculturists, invited speaker, conferecne takes place every three years

Liverpool, public talk about nutrition in birds to aviculturists, plenary, aviculturists, 15, invited speaker, monthly meetings take place with changing speakers

Hallingbury, public talk about nutrition in birds to aviculturists, pleanry, aviculturists, 25, invited speaker, Quarterly meetings take place

Bramley, Public talk about nutrition in birds to aviculturists, plenary, aviculturists, 40, invited speaker, Quarterly meetings take place with changing speakers

Research Grants Awarded:

German Ornithologists’ Society, Does head colour predict risk-taking and vigilance in wild Gouldian finches?, Grant value (£): 2906, Duration of research project: 6 months

Society for Tropical Ornithology, Beeinflusst die Kopffarbe Risikoverhalten und Aufmerksamkeit bei der Gouldamadine?, Grant value (£): 850, Duration of research project: 6 months

Society of Species Conservation and Aviculture, Beeinflusst die Kopffarbe Risikoverhalten und Aufmerksamkeit bei der Gouldamadine?, Grant value (£): 1,674.48, Duration of research project: 6 months

Liverpool John Moores University, Personality and Personal Development Planning, David McIlroy (PI), Grant value (£): 4800, Duration of research project: 2 months

Teaching qualification:

PGCert