Short CV/Education and training

  • 1983 – 1989
    Studied biology (zoology, botany, pharmacology), Goethe University Frankfurt and Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) Munich, Germany

  • 1991
    Diplom degree in biology, LMU Munich

  • 1995
    Doctoral of Natural Science (Dr rer. nat.) in zoology, LMU Munich

  • 1995 – 1998
    Postdoc; Research at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

  • 1995 – 1998
    Research associate, Department of Zoology, University of Washington, USA

  • 1998 – 2000
    Research associate, Department of Ecology, Ethology and Evolution, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA

  • 2000 – 2008
    Assistant professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, USA

  • Since 2008
    Head of a research group in evolutionary physiology, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Section for Animal Migrations and Immuno-ecology

Selected publications

  • Hau, M. et al.: Corticosterone, testosterone and life history strategies of birds. In: Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 277, 2010. pp. 3203-3212.

  • Adelman, J.S. et al.: Radio telemetry reveals variation in fever and sickness behaviours with latitude in a free-living passerine. In: Funct. Ecol. 24, 2010. pp. 813-823.

  • Safran, R.J. et al.: Sexual signal exaggeration affects physiological state in a social vertebrate. In: Curr. Biol. 18(11), 2008. R461-R462.

  • Hau, M., Gill, S.A., Goymann, W.: Tropical field endocrinology: Ecology and evolution of testosterone-behavior relationships in birds. In: Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 157, 2008. pp. 241-248.

  • Hau, M.: Regulation of male traits by testosterone: implications for the evolution of vertebrate life histories. In: BioEssays 29, 2007. pp. 133-144.

  • Canoine, V. et al.: Low sex steroids, high steroid receptors: increasing the sensitivity of the non-reproductive brain. In: Dev. Neurobiol. 67, 2007. pp. 57-67.

  • Hau, M. et al.: Timing of reproduction in a Darwin's finch: Temporal opportunism under spatial constraints. In: Oikos 106, 2004. pp. 489-500.

  • Hau, M.: Timing of breeding in variable environments: Tropical birds as model systems. In: Horm. Behav. 40, 2001. pp. 281-290.

  • Hau, M., Wikelski, M., Wingfield, J.C.: A neotropical bird can measure changes in tropical photoperiod. In: Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 265, 1998. pp. 89-95.

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • Evolutionary physiology of timing of breeding

  • Evolution of hormone-trait connections

  • Natural selection on circadian function in a semi-natural environment

  • The Life History–Physiology Nexus – Constraints on the Evolutionary Diversification of Life Histories

  • Hormonal mechanisms of avian personalities

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, course coordinator for doctoral students, since 2010

  • FemmeNet Mentor, since 2010 (

  • Equal opportunity officer, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, 2009 – 2010

  • Member of the leadership committee of the research network "Integrating Ecology and Endocrinology in Avian Reproduction (E-BIRD)", funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), European Science Foundation (ESF), and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), 2002 – 2005

  • Centre for the Study of Brain, Mind and Behaviour Committee on Distinguished Lecture Series, 2002

  • Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, since 2001

  • Sigma Xi, since 2000

  • Institutional Committee for Care and Use of Animals, 2000 – 2003

  • American Ornithologists Union, since 1999

  • Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, since 1996

  • Animal Behavior Society, since 1996


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  1. Wild Birds Respond Differently to the First Long Days of a Year

    Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology discovered that day length affects gene activity differentially in the brains of great tit populations from Central and Northern Europe. Due to climate change, springs are now warmer and day length has become a less reliable signal to start reproductive activities.