Dr Juan F. Masello


Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany

My multidisciplinary areas of interest and research focuses on the behavioural ecology, parasitology, and molecular ecology of wild populations of birds. The primary focus of my research has been (1) responses of individuals to changing environmental conditions, (2) reproductive strategies, (3) individual reproductive performance, and 4) foraging strategies. My ornithological research was conducted primarily on wild populations of parrots, penguins, gulls and cormorants since these offer excellent opportunities for testing a number of theoretical predictions. I have been responsible for initiating and co-ordinating several projects among them the ‘Breeding biology of Burrowing Parrots’ started in 1998. As a result of this research project, I have long-term data on the breeding biology of Burrowing Parrots, which allowed me, among other future possibilities, to conduct the study of determinants of breeding success in birds such us global climatic events like ENSO. During my research, I gained expertise in a wide variety of techniques both in the lab and in the field including: DNA fingerprinting, molecular sexing, radio tracking, use of time-depth, GPS and compass loggers, use of geo-locators, reflectance spectrometry, spectrophotometry, audio and video recordings of behaviour, field immunology (e.g. analysis of blood smears), determination of feeding patterns, supplementary feeding, analysis of ectoparasites, bird ringing, rock climbing, aerial and terrestrial surveys, etc. As early as my MSc, I was interested in the responses of individuals to environmental conditions, and during that time studied zooplanktonic molluscs, Urochordata, phytoplankton, and bacteria in extreme environments such us the South Atlantic Ocean and Antarctica. A further focus of my work is to contribute scientific data to enable more effective conservation of species and ecosystems. Since 2003, I am involved in projects on parrot conservation in co-operation with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Parrot Trust, BirdlLife International and Aves Argentinas among others. Since 2010, I am Chair of the Working Group on Psittaciformes (former Research Coordination Committee on Parrots) of the International Ornithologists’ Union (IOU). Since 2014, I am Fellow of the International Ornithologists’ Union.