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 for 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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