Jesús Martínez-Padilla - Behavioural and evolutionary ecologist

Population dynamics

Main collaborators: Prof. S. Redpath; Dr. Juan A. Fargallo; Dr. F. Mougeot; Prof. S. Piertney

I have interests in population dynamics from two different but complementary perspectives. First on the factors that regulate population cycles and on predator-prey relationships.

 

There are multiple factors that regulate population cycles, both abiotic and biotic, and within the last ones, intrinsic (aggressiveness) or extrinsic (parasites, predators, etc.). In red grouse, I am particularly interested on the interactive effects between hormones (that regulate aggressiveness in most cases) and parasites [40, 41]. Being more aggressive gives you an advantage against your rivals to get a territory or a mate, but also increases your risk of parasitism [32]. In red grouse, these two factors have been described as key at regulating their population cycles but my interests lay on the individual strategies during lifetime that red grouse or any other birds follow.

 

The association between predators and preys has also attracted my attention, both at exploring the direct effect of predators and preys, and the other way round, and the indirect effects [16, 18]. I have explored the former with the kestrel-vole system and the later with the kestrel-skylark system.

 

Finally, I have been working in liaison with geneticists (Prof. S. Piertney) to experimentally explore the genes that codify the aggressive behaviour and parasitism risk [26, 27], the two main mechanisms suggested to cause population cycles in red grouse.

All photographs shown here are of my own unless stated otherwise - I have also designed the entire web site, so this is © Jesús Martínez-Padilla