21.04.2021 - 02:07
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Department of Primatology

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 (0)341 3550 - 200
fax: +49 (0)341 3550 - 299

Roger Mundry

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Primatology
Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig, Germany

phone: +49 341 3550 225
e-mail: roger_mundry@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Being originally mainly interested in birdwatching and the behavior and acoustic communication of birds, I developed an interest and some skills in statistics and computational methods in general and now am employed as a statistician by the department of developmental and cognitive psychology as well as the department of primatology of this institute. As such I am involved in a variety of projects investigating the behavior, ecology and physiology of apes and monkeys. Besides that I work on issues arising in the practical application of statistical methods and also am still involved in research about the acoustic communication and behavioral ecology of birds.


The main focus of my current work is on primates and particularly apes. My interest in primates and particularly apes is primarily due to their complex behavior and cognitive abilities. In addition, their study may reveal important insights into the evolution of humans. A particularly worrying issue is that many primates are currently very endangered through destruction of their habitat but also, e.g., poaching or the spread of infectious diseases. All my current and recent projects on primates are/were conducted in close collaboration with others, and, to be honest, I couldn't say what my main research topics are. In fact, I was/am involved in projects spanning everything from endocrinology, physiology and nutritional ecology, behaviour in general and cooperation in particular, ecology and conservation, to cognition and communication. My main contribution to all these projects is of methodological (and occasionally conceptual) nature. After several years of being at this institute I have to admit that I am now as fascinated about primates as I am about birds. Particularly their behavioural complexity, flexibility and cognitive capabilities are fascinating me.

Besides this my current research still focuses to a considerable extent on acoustic communication in birds. One of the main questions I am interested in and working about is the relation between an individual male's 'song complexity' (i.e., repertoire size) and its quality. This topic I investigate in two oscine species, namely the nightingale and the blackbird. Another project I am involved in deals with predator induced calling and other behaviours in a cooperatively breeding songbird, the Arabian babbler. Further projects aim in elucidating acoustic communication systems in pelagic seabirds and largely focus on parent-offspring communication, namely the strategies of the offspring to signal its nutritional need, as well as features used for species recognition. Besides these I am involved in a variety of other bird projects investigating, for instance, ranging patterns and feeding ecology of penguins and shags, song learning in zebra finches, and the breeding ecology of swifts. All these bird projects are conducted in close collaborations with other researchers.

Finally, I am interested in statistics. Today, the use of statistics is a core component of many research areas, and the validity of any conclusions drawn (and published) about data depends crucially on the validity of the statistical analyses they are based on. May daily work largely consists of helping others with their statistical analyses, but besides that I occasionally also conduct projects which are purely statistical. These involved the consequences of pseudo-replication when using Discriminant Function Analysis (and how they could be avoided) or the misuse of stepwise regression and model selection in the framework of a significance testing approach. Ongoing projects deal with the incorporation of autocorrelation in statistical models and the validity of significance tests in mixed models. Although I personally find statistics to be interesting and it being pleasant to deal with them, I don't believe that statistics are very important in themselves. Ultimately, statistics are just a tool (though a very important one), and I use them in the hope to contribute a little to make the best, the most and the most appropriate out of the available data. My 'true' interest is in 'understanding' life and particularly animals (including humans) and protecting nature. Thinking in statistical terms ('designs' and 'models', 'predictor' and 'response' variables, etc.) helps me thinking about life.

Curriculum Vitae

Nationality: German

Pre-academic education, employment and activities

1967 - 1979Visit of public schools.
1979 - 1983Various jobs (e.g. postman, gardener) and activities (e.g. organic farming, sailing).
1984 - 1986Visit of a school for adults and other activities (e.g. organic farming, construction of a house, participation in the organization of a peace-march).

Academic education, Dissertation

1987 - 1995Study of biology at the Free University Berlin.
In between various jobs as student research assistant; preparation of the conference as well as the proceedings and management of the conference bureau of the 125th annual conference of the German Ornithological Society; student teacher ('tutor').
2000Completion of my dissertation. Topic: Structure and use of song in thrush nightingale mixed singers (Luscinia luscinia L.); supervisor: Prof. Dr. D. Todt.

Academic employment

1995 - 1998Scientific staff of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften.
1998 - 2004Scientific staff of the Free University Berlin.
2004 –2006Statistical advisor at the Research and Technology Centre, Westcoast of the Christian-Albrechts Unviersität zu Kiel.
Since 2006Statistical advisor at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig

Other scientific activities

Since 2002Consulting Editor of Animal Behaviour.
Since 2011Member of the advisory board of Ethology.
Since 2013Consulting Editor of Journal of Comparative Psychology.
2009-2005Member of the Executive Committee of the International Bioacoustic Council (IBAC)
Ad hoc reviewerAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology, American Journal of Primatology, Acta Oecologica, American Naturalist, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, Behaviour Research Methods, Bioacoustics, Biology Letters, BMC Biology, Cambridge University Press, Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, Central European Journal of Biology, Ecological Modelling, Emu, European Research Council, Evolution, Human Evolution, Global Ecology and Biogeography, Hydrobiologia, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Journal of Avian Biology, Journal of Comparative Psychology, Journal of Ornithology, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, PLoS ONE, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Royal Society Open Science, Scientific Reports, Springer, Zoological Science
TeachingBetween 1997 and 2003: lots of practical courses and seminars about animal behaviour, behavioural eocology, acoustic communication (mainly in birds); since 2004: many courses about statistics and R (mainly seminars/lectures with practical application).


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Kiefer S, Spiess A, Kipper S, Mundry R, Sommer C, Hultsch H, & Todt D. 2006. First-Year Common Nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos) Have Smaller Song-Type Repertoire Sizes Than Older Males. Ethology, 112, 1217–1224.

Kipper S, Mundry R, Sommer C, Hultsch H, & Todt D. 2006. Song repertoire size is correlated with body measures and arrival date in common nightingales, Luscinia megarhynchos. Animal Behaviour, 71, 211–217. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.04.011.

Träger I, Masello JF, Mundry R, & Quillfeldt P. 2006. Do Acoustic Parameters of Begging Calls of Cory’s Shearwaters Calonectris diomedea Reflect Chick Body Condition? Waterbirds, 29, 315–320.

Griesel S, Mundry R, Kakuschke A, Fonfara S, Siebert U, & Prange A. 2006. Mineral elements and essential trace elements in blood of seals of the North Sea measured by total-reflection X-ray fluorescence analysis. Spectrochimica Acta Part B, 61, 1158–1165.


Mundry R, & Sommer C. 2004. Tonal vocalizations in a noisy environment: an approach to their semi-automatic analysis and examples of its application. Anais da Academia Brasileira Ciências, 76, 284–288.

Kipper S, Mundry R, Hultsch H, & Todt D. 2004. Long-term persistence of song performance rules in Nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos): A longitudinal field study on repertoire size and composition. Behaviour, 141, 371–390.

Mundry R. 2004. Erfolgreiche Brut der Wacholderdrossel (Turdus pilaris) auf Berliner Stadtgebiet. Berliner Ornithologischer Bericht, 14, 60-63

Mundry R, & Todt D. 2000. Automated measurement of tonal bird vocalisations: a methodological approach and examples of its application. Measuring Behaviour 2000. In: Noldus LPJJ, ed. Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Methods and Techniques in Behavioral Research. Nijmegen, Netherlands, Noldus Information Technology b.v.: 226-228.

Naguib M, Mundry R, Hultsch H, & Todt D. 2002. Responses to playback of whistle songs and normal songs in male nightingales: effects of song category, whistle pitch, and distance. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 52, 216–223.

Naguib M, Mundry R, Ostreiher R, Hultsch H, Schrader L, & Todt D. 1999. Cooperatively breeding Arabian Babblers call differently when mobbing in different predator-induced situations. Behavioral Ecology, 10, 636–640.

Mundry R. 1999. Testing related samples with missing values: a permutation approach. Animal Behaviour, 58, 1143–1153.

Mundry R, & Fischer J. 1998. Use of statistical programs for nonparametric tests of small samples often leads to incorrect P values: examples from Animal Behaviour. Animal Behaviour, 56, 256–259.

Mundry R, Hau B, & Böhner J. 1994. Individual- und Strophentypspezifischer Einsatz des "kit" im Gesang des Buchfinken (Fringilla coelebs). J. Ornithol., 135, 223–231.

Mundry R. 1993. Unterschiede in den Lautausserungen von Nachtigall Luscinia megarhynchos und Sprosser Luscinia luscinia. Limicola, 7, 77-86.

Bergmann H-H, & Mundry R. 1993. Ostliche Nachtigallen Luscinia megarhynchos rufen anders. Limicola, 7, 311-313

Book reviews

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Mundry R. 2003. Review of Quinn, GP & Keough, MJ. 2002. Experimental Designs and Data Analysis for Biologists. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Ethology, 109, 781.

Book chapters

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Hultsch H, Mundry R, & Todt D. 1999. Learning, representation and retrieval of rule-related knowledge in the song system of birds. In: Friederici A, Menzel R, eds.: Learning: Rule Extraction & Representation. A. de Gruyter, Berlin/New York: 226-257.