Welcome aboard to our new student Eran Altschuler

25 October 2018

We welcome our new M.Sc. student Eran Altschuler!

Congratulations and warm wishes to our students Inbal and Yosef

27 January 2018

To Inbal for the birth of her daughter, and to Yosef for the birth of his son. We wish them and their families joy and happiness

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New publications

Contrasting aspects of tailswinds and asymmetrical response to crosswinds in soaring migrants

21 February 2018

Becciu, P., Panuccio, M., Catoni, C., Dell'Omo, G., and Sapir, N. 2018. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 72(28).  

Hovering hummingbird wing aerodynamics during the annual cycle. II. Implications of wing feather moult

21 February 2018

Achache Y, Sapir N, Elimelech Y. 2018. Hovering hummingbird wing aerodynamics during the annual cycle. II. Implications of wing feather moult. Royal Society Open Science 5: 171766.  

Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements

24 January 2018

Science 359 (6374): 466-469  

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Life-history tradeoffs result in evolutionary optimization of feather quality

Kiat, Y. and Sapir, N. (2018) Life-history tradeoffs result in evolutionary optimization of feather quality. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.doi:


Resource allocation for body tissues is under strong selection pressures because allocating too many resources may waste both energy and essential nutrients, and allocating too few resources can result in functional disability. We thus hypothesized that feather quality is the outcome of life-history trade-offs that determine feather resource allocation and that these trade-offs are determined by species-specific annual routine and life-history attributes. We accordingly predicted that certain species will develop a more durable plumage when this plumage needs to function over a longer period as compared with species that replace their feathers soon after their creation. We tested this prediction using plumage quality indices and moult timing data of nest-grown juvenile feathers from 49 passerine species. By using feather length, mass and melanization measurements, we found that the lifespan of nest-grown feathers until projected replacement during the next moult is a strong predictor of feather quality. This was found in both an inter-specific analysis and when comparing different feathers of an individual. We suggest that the maintenance of functional feathers throughout the lifespan of a bird while avoiding excessive deposition of resources in feathers that are replaced soon after their growth represents an evolutionary process of resource allocation optimization.

About us

We are a group of scientists devoted to the study of animal flight, including animal movement ecology, behavior, physiology and biomechanics. We study wild animals in the field and in the lab using a diversity of research approaches. We welcome applications for M.Sc. and Ph.D. studies and post-doctoral work in our group at the Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology at the University of Haifa.