Director, Bird Population Studies
Disease Ecology • Population Ecology • Behavioral Ecology • Evolutionary Ecology • Conservation Biology
As the Director of the Bird Population Studies program I design and coordinate bird-related research. As the Morgens Professor of Ornithology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology I teach and supervise research of undergraduate and graduate students, and collaborate with colleagues both at Cornell and elsewhere.
I am a native of Belgium, and I obtained my Ph.D. at Ghent State University. After working with UNESCO (in Turkey), the UN (as a consultant in Niger) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Madagascar (forestry and conservation) and in Samoa (applied entomology) I joined the newly founded Antwerp University in Belgium as a Professor where I created an active group in animal, behavioral and population ecology studying not only birds, but also mammals, insects and plants.
I spent some time in Zaire, Algeria and France as a visiting professor and in 1994 I joined the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University as the Director of the Bird Population Studies program and as the first Edwin H. Morgens Professor of Ornithology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
At the Lab of Ornithology I developed multiple citizen science projects in collaboration with Rick Bonney and other colleagues. This led to a long-term study of the epidemic following the shift of the poultry pathogenic bacterium Mycoplasma gallisepticum to House Finches. As Professor of Ornithology on campus I teach and supervise undergraduate and graduate students. These have studied problems as diverse as bird social behavior, effects of habitat fragmentation in temperate and tropical environments, life-history trade-offs, pathogens in birds, and adaptations to high elevations.
I am also a member of the Academia Europaea.
Ph.D., Biology, Ghent State University
M.Sc., Zoology, Ghent State University
I am inspired by things I don’t understand.