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Diana Rubene

Researcher in ecology with focus on sensory ecology who studies how visual and olfactory cues affect bird foraging strategies and behaviour.


Currently my research focus is bird olfaction in a broad sense. I want to understand how birds perceive and respond to different sensory stimuli and what is the relative role of olfaction and vision in shaping bird foraging decisions. I study olfactory learning in red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) and great tits (Parus major) using experimental laboratory settings, but also how plant olfactory cues (herbivore-induced volatiles) affect insect consumption patterns of bird communities in agricultural systems.


Current research projects:

When and where do birds help plants? Natural enemy interactions in agricultural systems and their impact on biological control (PI). Subprojects:

  • Olfactory learning in red junglefowl and great tit
  • Non-consumptive predator effects of birds on generalist natural enemies
  • Effects of olfactory plant cues on natural enemy interactions and plant damage in a landscape context

Optimal light conditions for laying hens (collaboration with PI Annete Wichman, SLU).

Investigation of insect host plant searching behaviour in crop mixture (PhD supervisor of Sokha Kheam, SLU).


I have a general ecology background from Uppsala University (MSc) and SLU (PhD). Most of my research has concerned birds and insects. As a master student I studied aspects of bird visual systems, in particular potential effects of domestication and selection on temporal resolution in laying hens. In my PhD, I investigated insect diversity patterns in managed Swedish forests, trying to understand how species communities respond to local conservation management in landscapes with varying occurence of forest fires and dead wood. During last couple of years, as a postdoc and independent researcher, I focus on foraging interactions between birds, insects and plants, to better understand how visual and olfactory cues from the environment influence predator (bird)-prey (insect) interactions and behaviour.