Daniela Zinßmeister

I am a PhD student in the Animal Flight Group. My project is supported by the University of Haifa scholarship and the Minerva Center for Movement Ecology fellowship.


I am interested in the interface of behavior, ecology and conservation. My project addresses fundamental questions in the study of bird migration. My goal is to provide a better understanding of the mechanisms, patterns and consequences of stopover ecology and migratory departure. I am studying migratory songbirds, with a focus on behavior and bird movement during stopover, fuel deposition and timing of departure for cross-country flight.

In my research I apply multiple techniques in order to obtain data: methodological advances that facilitate bird movement tracking (high-frequency telemetry with the ATLAS System; developed by the scientists of the Minerva Center for Movement Ecology); behavioral observations; manipulative field experiments (manipulation of food availability); and atmospheric modeling.


I obtained my B.Sc in biology from Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany. I then completed my M.Sc. at the University of Vienna (Austria) in Zoology with main focus on Ethology, Behavioral Ecology and Animal Cognition.

After taking part in the Ural Owl reintroduction project I completed my master thesis on “Juvenile dispersal of the ural owl (Strix uralensis) in the Vienna Woods” in conservation biology and behavioral ecology, under supervision of Prof. Dr. Thomas Bugnyar (Dep. of Animal Cognition, University of Vienna) and Dr. Richard Zink (Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, Vetmed Vienna).

I gained further experience in bird research during my studies through a practical course where I investigated agonistic interactions and feeding times in graylag geese at the Konrad-Lorenz-Research Institute, Grünau im Almtal, and performed behavioral research on zoo animals, “Mating behavior of the marabou stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus)” at the Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Zoo of Vienna, Austria.

Besides my main hobby – spending as much time as possible in the field, I am interested in dog training and behavioral consultancy.

email: zinssmeister.d@googlemail.com