Dr Kamran Safi
Visiting Research Fellow
- 2007-Present: Visiting Research Fellow (SNSF) Institute of Zoology, London.
- 2007: Ph.D. University of Zurich, Switzerland.
- 2006-2007: Head of the "Scientific Application" NewBehavior AG.
- 2001: M.Sc. University of Zurich, Switzerland.
My scientific interests lie mainly in two very broad fields of research, the role of information on the behaviour and morphology and the conservation of threatened species assemblages.
The main objective of the first field of interest is how information is shared and how eavesdropping on communication and orientation channels shape, constraint, and promote from an evolutionary perspective social living. Individuals in a social environment receive from others or eavesdrop information about many different but important life history factors, such as food, nesting site, mate quality, presence of predators etc. What do specific individuals know, what is the value of certain information to uninformed individuals, and what is the benefit for those sharing the knowledge? These are questions in focus of my research. But besides the social aspects of information, I am also mainly interested in how information is processed on a neurological and neuro-ecological level using a comparative approach. Thereby I would like to understand how neuro-ecological requirements of information processing determine the morphology of its substrate, the brain, to understand a little bit better the interplay between ecology and neurology and its consequences for the species.
The second important aspect of my work lies in the intersection of animal behaviour, ecology, and the field of conservation biology. Many things we learn from the behaviour of model species directly relates into conservation relevant questions. For example if information sharing has been an important factor in the evolution of sociality, we must realize that density dependent effects intensify the struggle of such populations for survival at low densities by affecting fundamental processes of social living. More importantly spatial and past events determine often strongly how biodiversity is evolved and maintained. The understanding of the processes underlying biodiversity and the evolutionary processes maintaining and promoting it, is the main objective of my work at the IoZ. Thereby I am focusing on speciation and species-richness in order to describe niche divergence with the ultimate goal to understand community structure from an evolutionary perspective. This knowledge will be used thereafter in current models of climate change and habitat alteration in order to estimate the effect of the dramatic human caused changes for conservation and management of endangered species. By studying mammalian communities, the study aims to incorporate phylogenetic, climatic and environmental data to generate models of niche divergence, interspecific competition and distribution. Such fine scaled models of community structure and niche divergence are then used to predict the effects of climate change and habitat alteration on species composition and distribution.
D. K. N. Dechmann and K. Safi (2009) A review of comparative studies of brain size with a special focus on bats. Biological Reviews 84: 161-172.
K. Safi (2008) Sociality in bats: the males' perspective. Journal of Mammalogy 89: 1342-1350.
K. Safi, B. König & G. Kerth (2007). Comparative analyses suggest that information transfer promoted sociality in male bats in the temperate zone. American Naturalist 170: 465-472.
K. Safi, B. König & G. Kerth (2007) Implications of sex-specific habitat use and social sexual segregation for the conservation of the parti-coloured bat, (Vespertilio murinus, Linnaeus 1758). Biological Conservation 137: 28-36.
K. Safi, J. Heinzle & K. Reinhold (2006) Species recognition influences female mate preferences in the common European grasshopper (Chorthippus biguttulus Linnaeus, 1758). Ethology 112: 1225-1230.
D.K.N. Dechmann, K. Safi & M.J. Vonhoff (2006) Matching morphology and diet in the disc-winged bat, Thyroptera tricolor (Chiroptera). Journal of Mammalogy 87: 1013-1019.
F.C. Saunders, A.G. McElligott, K. Safi & T.J. Hayden (2005) Mating tactics of male feral goats (Capra hircus): risks and benefits. Acta Ethologica 8: 103-110.
K. Safi, M.A. Seid & D.K.N. Dechmann (2005) Bigger is not always better - when brains get smaller. Biology Letters 1: 283-286.
K. Safi & D. Dechmann (2005) Adaptation of brain regions to habitat complexity: a comparative analysis in bats (Chiroptera). Proceedings of the Royal Society London Series B 272: 179-186.
K. Safi & G. Kerth (2004) A comparative analysis of specialization and extinction risk in temperate-zone bats. Conservation Biology 18: 1293-1303.
K. Safi & G. Kerth (2003) Secretions of the interaural gland contain information about individuality and colony membership in the Bechstein’s Bat. Animal Behaviour 65:363-369.
G. Kerth, K. Safi & B. König (2002) Mean colony relatedness is a poor predictor of colony structure and female philopatry in the communally breeding Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii). Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 52: 203-210.
Biodiversity & Macroecology
T: +49-7732-150 173
F: +49-7732-150 165
Max Planck Institute for Ornithology