Feather moult strategies – Yosef Kiat

My study deals with one of the most important life-history transitions for birds – the feather moult. Birds moult their flight feathers every year, a process that is considered one of the most energy-demanding processes in the avian yearly cycle. Although feathers are the unifying characteristic of all birds, our understanding of the causes, mechanisms, patterns and consequences of the feather moult process lags behind that of other major avian life-history phenomena such as reproduction and migration. In my research, I focus on the effects of several life-history traits and environmental conditions on the evolution of feather moult strategies. I use moult data from several natural history museums, as well as data collected during bird-ringing activities in several localities in Israel. In this research, I explore how moult strategies are shaped by life-history traits and environmental conditions such as sexual-dichromatism, global climate warming, altitude-associated temperature variation, distribution and migration patterns. This study highlight the importance of interactions between life-history traits and environmental conditions and the effects of time constraints, on the understanding of the selective forces that shape life-history processes and their consequences throughout the annual routine.