The Behavioural Ecology Lab is a research lab integrated in the Animal Ecology Group, a cooperative assembly of research groups within the University of Vigo.

We aim to understand how natural selection shapes the life history and behaviour of wild animal populations. Our work focuses mainly on seabirds (shags, boobies, gulls, shearwaters, guillemots, etc) living in islands  but has also involved studies on fishes and other vertebrate species. We are also interested in wildlife conservation and the consequences of human actions for the diversity (see our research on the effects of the Prestige oil spill)

Most of our current research focuses on:

Gene expression and the evolution of complex phenotypes


Senescence in wild animals


Social evolution and family coadaptation


Seabird conservation


Current members
  Alberto Velando Sin-Yeon Kim Jose C. Noguera
   Violette Chiara Francisco Ruiz-Raya Náyade Álvarez Quintero
  Alberto da Silva Alba Gonzalez Otero Belen Otero


See our last publications:




Noguera JC, Velando A. 2019. Bird embryos perceive vibratory cues of predation risk from clutch mates. Nature Ecology and Evolution 3, 1225–1232


Kim S-Y, Velando A. 2019. Attractive male sticklebacks carry more oxidative DNA damage in the soma and germline. Journal of Evolutionary Biology doi: 10.1111/JEB.13552


Velando, A., Noguera, J.C., da Silva, A., Kim, S-Y. 2019. Redox-regulation and life-history trade-offs: scavenging mitochondrial ROS improves growth in a wild bird. Scientific Reports 9,  2203


Kim S-Y, Noguera JC & Velando A. 2019. Carry-over effects of early thermal conditions on somatic and germline oxidative damages are mediated by compensatory growth in sticklebacks. Journal Animal Ecology 88, 473-483
  5 Noguera, J.C. 2019. Crickets increase sexual signalling and sperm protection but live shorter in the presence of rivals. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 32, 42-57
  6 Noguera JC, Velando A. 2019. Reduced telomere length in embryos exposed to predator cues. Journal of Experimental Biology 222: jeb216176
7  Calado JG, Paiva VH, Ramos JÁ, Velando A, Munilla I. 2019. Anthropogenic food resources, sardine decline and environmental conditions have triggered a dietary shift of an opportunistic seabird over the last 30 years in the northwest coast of Spain. Regional Environmental Change 
2018 1 Alvarez, G. Barros, A, Velando, A. 2018. The use of European shag pellets as indicators of microplastic fibers in the marine environment. Marine Pollution Bulletin 137, 444-448
2 Noguera JC, Metcalfe NB, Monaghan P. 2018. Experimental demonstration that offspring fathered by old males have shorter telomeres and reduced lifespans. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. 285 20180268
3 Morales J, Velando A. 2018. Coloration of chicks modulates costly interactions among family members. Behavioral Ecology  29, 894-903
4 Oro D, Álvarez D, Velando A. 2018. Complex demographic heterogeneity from anthropogenic impacts in a coastal marine predator. Ecological Applications 28, 612-621
5 Morales J, Lucas A, Velando A. 2018. Maternal programming of offspring antipredator behavior in a seabird. Behavioral Ecology 29, 479-485
6 Noguera JC, Aira M, Pérez-Losada M, Velando A. 2018. Glucocorticoids modulate gastrointestinal microbiome in a wild. Royal Society Open Science 5, 171743
2017 1 Noguera JC, Kim S-Y, Velando A. 2017. Family-transmitted stress in a wild bird. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 114:6794-6799
2 Velando A, Costa MM,  Kim S-Y. 2017. Sex-specific phenotypes and metabolism-related gene expression in juvenile sticklebacks. Behavioral Ecology 28, 1553–1563
3 Kim S-Y, Costa MM, Esteve-Codina A, Velando A. 2017. Transcriptional mechanisms underlying life-history responses to climate change in the three-spined stickleback. Evolutionary Applications 10:718-730
4 Kim S-Y, Metcalfe NB, da Silva A, Velando A. 2017. Thermal conditions during early life influence seasonal maternal strategies in the three-spined stickleback. BMC Ecology 17:34
5 Noguera JC, Metcalfe NB, Monaghan P. 2017. Postnatal nutrition influences male attractiveness and promotes plasticity in male mating preferences. The Science of Nature 104:102.
6 Díaz-Real J, Kim S-Y, Velando A. 2017. Plumage colour and the expression of stress-related genes in gull chicks. Journal Avian Biology 48, 1216-1225
7 Noguera JC. 2017. Interacting effects of early dietary conditions and reproductive effort on the oxidative costs of reproduction. PeerJ 5, e3094
8 Velando A, Moran P, Romero R, Fernandez J, Piorno V. 2017. Invasion and eradication of the American mink in the Atlantic Islands National Park (NW Spain): A retrospective analysis. Biological Invasions  19, 1227–1241



Barros A, Romero R, Munilla I, Pérez C, Velando A. 2016. Behavioural plasticity in nest-site selection of a colonial seabird in response to an invasive carnivore. Biological Invasions 18:3149–3161
2 Díaz-Real J, Kim S-Y, Velando A. 2016 Hatching hierarchy but not egg-related effects governs behavioral phenotypes in gull chicks. Behavioral Ecology 27, 1782-1789



Noguera JC, Metcalfe NB, Reichert S, Monaghan P. 2016. Embryonic and postnatal telomere length decrease with ovulation order within clutches. Scientific Reports 6, 25915


Kim S-Y, Metcalfe NB, Velando A. 2016. A benign juvenile environment reduces the strength of antagonistic pleiotropy and genetic variation in the rate of senescence. Journal of Animal Ecology, 85, 705-714.



Kim S-Y, Velando A. 2016. Unsociable juvenile male three-spined sticklebacks grow more attractive. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 70, 975-980



Munilla I, Genovart M, Paiva VH,  Velando A. 2016. Colony foundation in an oceanic seabird. PlosOne 11, e0147222


Kim S-Y. 2016. Fixed behavioural plasticity in response to predation risk in the three-spined stickleback. Animal Behaviour, 112, 147-152


Kim S-Y, Velando A. 2016. Genetic conflict between sexual signalling and juvenile survival in the three-spined stickleback.  BMC Evolutionary Biology, 16:52