Simone Messina



My research interests are centred around the study of physiological mechanisms governing vertebrate behaviours and adaptation.

My PhD project focuses on the physiological mechanisms underlying bird populations response to disturbed forests. To this end, I will carry out experimental investigations and comparative studies on birds in primary and logged tropical forests of Borneo, a biodiversity hotspot severely impacted by selective logging.

The reduction in biodiversity in selectively logged tropical forests has been shown to be less dramatic than previously thought. However, some species appear to be more vulnerable to logging than others. An important question then is: which traits affect a species’ capability to persist in degraded habitats?

To answer this question I will investigate the effects of altered environmental characteristics on stress hormones (e.g. glucocorticoids) and oxidative stress. Glucocorticoids are a physiological indices of stress condition and health of individuals and animal populations. Resistance to oxidative stress is potentially an important fitness-related trait and it seems to have an important role in the response of populations to environmental changes.

This project is funded by the FWO (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Flanders) and it is co-supervised by Dr David Paul Edwards of the University of Sheffield and Dr David Costantini and Professor Marcel Eens of the University of Antwerp.

View my CV (PDF, 319KB)

About me

I like traveling to meet new people and see different cultures. I like sightseeing, tasting new kinds of food, exploring surroundings and spotting animals. I like music and movies. Last but not least, I like football and I support AS Roma!