Grunst Andrea

Postdoctoral Researcher
La Rochelle Université

I am doing a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship (BehavToxArc) project at LIENSs in collaboration with Dr. Jerôme Fort. The central objective of this project is to investigate joint effects of anthropogenic contaminants and climate change on Arctic seabirds from a behavioural ecological perspective. The Arctic is warming rapidly and is a sink for pollutants, especially including methylmercury (MeHg), which bioaccumulates in marine food chains. Ecotoxicological studies in the arctic have not adequately considered effects of contaminants on animal behaviour and fitness, or interactions between contaminants and climate change. BehavToxArc aims to address these urgent research areas using a keystone arctic seabird, the little auk (Alle alle), as a model species. I am collecting data from two colonies that are experiencing different environmental conditions and climate change impacts, and exploring whether disruption of behaviour or stress physiology by Hg might limit adjustments to environmental change.

Keywords : Avian behavioural ecology, behavioural ecotoxicology, ecophysiology, alternative behavioural strategies, conservation ecology

Research topics
My research involves basic and applied aspects of avian behavioural and evolutionary ecology. Important research themes include : (1) Factors explaining variation in animal personality and alternative behavioural strategies, (2) Behavioural ecotoxicology, especially how exposure to contaminants affects avian personality and cognitive traits, (3) Environmental and life-history effects on rates of senescence, and (4) Behavioural and physiological responses to anthropogenic environmental change.

Publications :

  • Grunst AS, Grunst ML, Pinxten R, Eens M. 2020. Sources of individual variation in problem-solving performance in
    urban great tits (Parus major) : Exploring effects of metal pollution, urban disturbance and personality. Sci Tot Environ. 749 : 141436. doi : 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141436
  • Grunst AS, Grunst ML, Pinxten R, Eens M. 2020. Proximity to roads, but not exposure to metal pollution, is
    associated with accelerated developmental telomere shortening in nestling great tits. Environ Pollut. 256 : 113373. doi : 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113373.
  • Grunst AS, Grunst ML, Daem N, Pinxten R, Bervoets L, Eens M. 2019. An important personality trait
    varies with blood and plumage metal concentrations in a free-living songbird. Environ Sci Technol. 53:10487-10496. doi : 10.1021/acs.est.9b03548.
  • Grunst AS, Grunst ML, Korody ML, Forrette LM, Gonser RA, Tuttle EM. 2019. Extra-pair mating and the strength
    of sexual selection : insights from a polymorphic species. Behav Ecol. 30 : 278-290. doi : 10.1093/beheco/ary160. Editor’s Choice.
  • Grunst AS, Grunst ML, Formica VA, Korody M, Betuel AM, Barcelo-Serra M, Ford S, Gonser RA, Tuttle EM. 2018.
    Morph-specific patterns of reproductive senescence : connections to discrete reproductive strategies. Am Nat. 191:744-755. doi : 10.1086/697377.