Luke Eberhart-Hertel


Main Focus

I am a population ecologist with a special interest in the evolutionary relationships between social behaviour and demography. I want to understand how animal breeding systems are shaped by extrinsic social and ecological environments and by intrinsic phylogenetic constraints. To accomplish this, my work focuses largely on studying sex-specific variation in mating strategies, parental care, reproductive success, survival, and movement in wild avian populations. My main study system is the shorebirds (suborder Charadrii), whose diverse life histories and extreme tractability in the field make them ideal organisms to exemplify fundamental principles of ecology and evolutionary biology. Furthermore, as many shorebird populations worldwide are in decline and threatened, an important applied aspect of my research is to understand vital rate variation in light of population viability and conservation. Through my experiences as a field ornithologist, I understand the limitations of avian survey methods and the issue of imperfect detection. Therefore, a core component of my research is modelling population dynamics with mark-recapture methods. I strive to make my analytical work as transparent as possible using tools that facilitate collaboration and reproducibility.

Curriculum Vitae

2013 – 2017      PhD, Department of Animal Behaviour, Bielefeld University, Germany
                       Dissertation: “Consequences of individual variation on population dynamics: a behavioural, molecular,                        and demographic study of Charadrius plovers”. Supervisors: O Krüger, J Hoffman, and T Székely
2010 – 2012      MSc, Wildlife Management, Humboldt State University, California, USA    
                       Thesis: “Population viability of snowy plovers in coastal northern California”. Supervisor: M Colwell
2006 – 2010      BSc, Wildlife Conservation and Ecology, Humboldt State University, California, USA

Professional Experience

2023 – present        Postdoctoral Researcher — Department Kempenaers, Max Planck Institute Biological Intelligence (formerly Max Planck Institute for Ornithology), Seewiesen, Germany
2019 – 2023    DFG Postdoctoral Fellow — Research Group Küpper, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany
2017 – 2018        Postdoctoral Researcher — Research Group Küpper, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany
2013 – 2017        DFG Doctoral Fellow — Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany
2012 – 2013        Research Associate — Shorebird Ecology Lab, Humboldt State University, California, USA
2012 – 2013        Research Assistant — Raptor Ecology Lab, Boise State University, Idaho, USA
2012                      Field Biologist — US Fish and Wildlife Service, Nome, Alaska, USA
2011 – 2012        Teaching Assistant — Wildlife Department, Humboldt State University, California, USA
2010                   Field Biologist — Alaska Bird Observatory, Umiat, Alaska, USA
2009                   Field Biologist — Alaska Bird Observatory, Denali National Park, Alaska, USA
2008                  Field Biologist — US Forest Service, Lake Tahoe, California, USA

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