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Diego Gil

Senior Researcher (MNCN, CSIC)

Research Themes

My research can be framed within the field of behavioural ecology, with a strong emphasis on the physiological mechanisms that are at the base of the adaptive responses of organisms to the environment. My models for this kind of questions are birds, mostly passerines, and apart from the scientific interest they have, I personally enjoy working in the field with them.

I have two main lines of research. On the one hand, my first interest was the study of bird song, why it varies so much between individuals and species, what do birds use it for, how is it designed for transmission in the environment, and how it relates to sexual selection and speciation. My second line of research is the study of maternal effects, particularly the effects of hormones that are transmitted from mother to offspring in the eggs, and that have effects in the development and fitness of the birds.

Curriculum Vitae

My first degree was in Psychology, something that reflects my early interest in behaviour and learning. I was fascinated by bird song from very early on. My first scientific study, on singing patterns of two sympatric treecreeper species, led me to consider interspecific territoriality, and made me realize from very early on the close link of behaviour with ecology and evolution. I did my PhD in the University of St Andrews supervised by Peter Slater on the role of song in sexual selection in the willow warbler. From there on I became interested in how maternal effects could influence development in birds, and that was the main theme of research during my postdocs with Jeff Graves (St. Andrews) and Anders Moller (Paris).

In 2001 I came back to Spain with a Ramón y Cajal fellowship, and in 2008 I obtained a senior scientist position at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC).