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Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr Petra Sumasgutner

Petra Sumasgutner

John Day Building: 1.02
Tel: +27 (0)21 650 3292
Fax: +27 (0)21 650 3295

Email: petra.sumasgutner@univie.ac.at

Petra's diploma studies focused on raptor research and conservation biology. Her PhD thesis at the University of Vienna, Austria was entitled 'Costs and benefits in the settlement decisions of the Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)' and was a collaboration between the Department of Integrative Zoology, the bird collection at the Natural History Museum, Vienna and the Section of Ecology at the University of Turku, Finland. The study investigated whether city dwelling raptors such as kestrels are attracted to breed in the city centre by favourable conditions, such as the ready availability of suitable nest sites or high levels of potential prey, or are pushed out of rural areas by unfavourable conditions there. By means of an experimental approach, Petra was further able to substantiate the use of public information in settlement decisions, thus broadening her expertise in the field of behavioural ecology.

After research in urban ecology and in remote areas in northern Europe, in 2014 Petra migrated south and joined the FitzPatrick Institute as a PostDoctoral Fellow in the Raptor Research group supervised by Dr Arjun Amar. The project aims to understand the establishment of urban raptor populations. On the Cape Peninsula, urban breeding Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus minor) and Black Sparrowhawks (Accipiter melanoleucus) have been monitored since their colonisation. Petra will analyse that comprehensive data set to address factors underlying the expansion of both urban raptor populations.

Research Programmes

Raptor research

Recent peer-reviewed publications

2017

Rose, S.*, Sumasgutner, P.*, Koeslag, A. & Amar, A. 2017. Does seasonal decline in breeding performance differ for an African raptor across an urbanisation gradient? Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 5(47). http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fevo.2017.00047/abstract (* contributed equally to the manuscript)

Kreiderits, A., Gamauf, A., Krenn, H.W. & Sumasgutner, P. 2016. Investigating the influence of local weather conditions and alternative prey composition on the breeding performance of urban Eurasian kestrels (Falco tinnunculus). Bird Study. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00063657.2016.1213791

2016

Kreiderits, A., Gamauf, A., Krenn, H.W. & Sumasgutner, P. 2016. Investigating the influence of local weather conditions and alternative prey composition on the breeding performance of urban Eurasian kestrels (Falco tinnunculus). Bird Study. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00063657.2016.1213791

Sumasgutner, P., Millán, J., Curtis, O., Koelsag, A. & Amar, A. 2016. Is multiple nest building an adequate strategy to cope with inter-species nest usurpation? BMC Evolutionary Biology 16:97. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12862-016-0671-7

Sumasgutner, P., Tate, G.J., Koeslag, A. & Amar, A. 2016. Family morph matters: factors determining survival and recruitment in a long-lived polymorphic raptor. Journal of Animal Ecology 85:1043–1055. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12862-016-0671-7

Sumasgutner, P., Tate, G., Koeslag, A. & Amar, A. 2016. Seasonal home ranges of black sparrowhawks (Accipiter melanoleucus) breeding in an urban environmen. Bird Studyhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00063657.2016.1214814

Suri, J., Sumasgutner, P.,  Hellard, E., Koeslag, A. and Amar, A. 2016. Stability in prey abundance may buffer Black Sparrowhawks from health impacts of urbanisation. Ibis 159:38–54. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ibi.12422

Tate, G., Sumasgutner, P., Koeslag, A. & Amar, A. 2016. Pair complementarity influences reproductive output in the polymorphic black sparrowhawk (Accipiter melanoleucus). Journal of Avian Biology.   http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jav.01100

2015

Mitter, G., Sumasgutner, P. & Gamauf, A. 2015. Niche-partitioning of three Apodemus species (Mammalia: Murinae) in an urban environment. Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien B. 117:37-46.

2014

Sumasgutner, P., Nemeth, E., Tebb, G., Krenn, H.W. and Gamauf, A. 2014. Hard times in the city - attractive nest sites but insufficient food supply lead to low reproduction rates in a bird of prey. Frontiers in Zoology 11:48. Download available here.

Sumasgutner, P., Schulze, C.H., Krenn, H.W., Düesberg, J. and Gamauf, A. 2014. Conservation related conflicts in the nest-site selection of the Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and the distribution of its avian prey. Landscape and Urban Planning 127:94-103. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.03.009. Download available here.

Sumasgutner, P., Rubin, I. and Gamauf, A. 2014. Collecting blood samples in Eurasian Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) (Aves: Falconidae) via blood‐sucking bugs (Insecta: Hemiptera: Reduviidae) and their use in genetics and leucocyte profiles. Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien B. 116: 247-257.

Sumasgutner, P., Vasko, V., Varjonen, R. and Korpimäki, E. 2014. Public information revealed by prey remains in nest-sites is more important than ectoparasite avoidance in the settlement decisions of Eurasian kestrels (Falco tinnunculus). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology  68:2023-2034.