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André Dhondt

Edwin H. Morgens Professor of Ornithology, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

Professor André Dhondt

Johnson Ctr Birds&Biodiversity, Room Johnson
E145 Corson Hall
aad4@cornell.edu
607-254-2445

Educational Background

Ph.D., Biology, Ghent State University, Belgium (1970)

Aggregaat Hoger Secundair Onderwijs, Ghent State University, Belgium (1968) 

Licentiaat Zoology, Ghent State University, Belgium (1966)

Website(s)

Overview

I teach in a variety of courses at Cornell including BioEE 2640/2641: Tropical Field Ornithology, BioEE 4940: Recent Advance in Ornithology, and BioEE 7590: Graduate Seminars in Ornithology.

Keywords

Population ecology, behavioral ecology, disease ecology, evolutionary ecology, ornithology

Departments/Programs

  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Graduate Fields

  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Natural Resources

Affiliations

  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Population Studies (BPS)
  • Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology (CLO)

Research

The aim of my research is to identify selection pressures that operate on individuals in natural populations. My research interests are, therefore, in ecology, behavior, behavioral ecology, evolution, genetics, and conservation biology, mainly of birds. My research interests have generated collaboration with molecular biologists and studies of populations in fragmented habitats, effects of disease, predation, and inter-specific competition, behavioral mechanism, quantitative genetics, etc. Most of my research, and that of my students, has been a combination of population and behavioral ecology that began by studying the fates of individually marked individuals and has included various disciplines such as population ecology, behavioral ecology, population genetics, epidemiology.

When I moved to Cornell University in 1994 I took advantage of the great opportunities offered by the “Citizen Science” approach to address questions at a continental scale. I helped expand “Project Tanager” and start “Birds in Forested Landscapes,” two projects that attempted to study effects of habitat fragmentation all across North America. Confronted with an apparent epidemic of an unknown eye disease in house finches in mid-1994 I started the “House Finch Disease Survey.” This project was unusually successful at tracking the epidemic of a new strain of the parasitic bacterium Mycoplasma gallisepticum in house finches and was able to document how house finch numbers declined by about 60% because of this newly emerged disease. Since September 2000 this project has developed into a large long-term collaborative NIH/NSF-funded study to understand in great detail not only the underlying mechanisms that caused the epidemic and its effect on house finches, but also co-evolutionary changes in the bacteria. I am also still involved in the analyses of long-term data of European Parids.

Courses