Marcel Klaassen (Alfred Deakin Prof)

marcel klaassen

Phone +61 3 522 72464
Campus Geelong Waurn Ponds
Research grouping Wildlife and Conservation Biology
Ecophysiology, Sensory Ecology and Behaviour
Centre for Integrative Ecology

Alfred Deakin Prof. Marcel Klaassen has developed broad research interests including theoretical, experimental and observational studies on numerous animal, plant and microbe taxa. Throughout this, his focus has primarily been on bird migration, nutritional ecology and disease ecological issues.

Research interests

  1. Modelling avian migration strategies, population dynamics and conservation strategies
  2. Disease Ecology and the connecting powers of migrants
  3. Nutritional ecology and reserve dynamics in waterfowl, waders and marsupials

marcel klaassen pic4page


Key publications

1.   *van Gils JA, Lisovski S, Lok T, Meissner W, Ożarowska A, de Fouw J, Rakhimberdiev E, Soloviev MY, Piersma T, Klaassen M. Body shrinkage due to Arctic warming reduces red knot fitness in tropical wintering range. Science 2016, Vol 352, Issue 6287.
“We show the real toll of body size decreasing in red knot birds as climates rapidly change. Featured on the cover of Science.”

2.    Klaassen M, Nolet BA. Stoichiometry of endothermy: shifting the quest from nitrogen to carbon. Ecology Letters 2008, 11:785-792.
“Endotherms can do with poorer quality food, which may have been key to their evolutionary success. A “Faculty of 1000” article and the basis for a New Scientist article.”

3.    *van Gils JA, Radersma VA, Liefhebber D, Fouchier RAM, Klaassen M.
Hampered foraging and migratory performance in swans infected with low-pathogenic avian influenza A virus. PLoS ONE  2007, 2:e184.
“The first behavioural ecological paper on the consequences of Avian Influenza infection in wild migratory birds, changing the thinking of many virologist, veterinarians and epidemiologist on AIV dynamics.”

4.    *Hoye BJ, Fouchier RAM, Klaassen M. Host behaviour and physiology underpin individual variation in avian influenza virus infection in migratory Bewick’s swans. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 2012, 279:529-534.
“Using novel applications of stable isotope ecology and eco-immunology, we identified that the chance of becoming infected is highly related to age and the habitat choice of birds.”

5.    Klaassen M, Lindström Å, Meltofte H, Piersma T. Ornithology – Arctic waders are not capital breeders. Nature 2001, 413:794-794.
“Cleverly using stable isotopes in feathers of adults and chicks, grown at various localities, we found that waders do not make eggs from nutrients deposited while migrating to the Arctic.”

6.    Masman D, Klaassen M. Energy-expenditure during free flight in trained and free-living Eurasian Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus). Auk 1987, 104:603-616.
“First paper, reporting on flight costs of birds using then highly novel techniques and including a unique meta-analysis indicating that flight was cheaper than hitherto thought.”

7.    Klaassen M, Biebach H. Energetics of fattening and starvation in the long-distance migratory Garden Warbler, Sylvia Borin, during the migratory phase. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 1994, 164:362-371.
“Precise energy and nitrogen balance study indicating for the first time that migrants also put on protein and repeatedly go through enormous metabolic changes during a migratory journey.”

8.    Klaassen M, Kvist A, Lindström Å. Flight costs and fuel composition of a bird migrating in a wind tunnel. Condor 2000, 102:444-451.
“We spectacularly made a bird migrate voluntarily in a windtunnel for “6,300 km”, while meticulously measuring its energy and nitrogen balance, uniquely showing the fuel composition used in migratory flight.”

9.    Klaassen M, Bauer S, Madsen J, Ingunn T. Modelling behavioural and fitness consequences of disturbance for geese along their spring flyway. Journal of Applied Ecology 2006, 43:92-100.
“Understanding complex migratory systems can be importantly facilitated using sophisticated models, which here were used to predict the impact of imminent management plans in Norway, which were cancelled upon publication.”

10.    Bauer S, Klaassen M. Mechanistic models of animal migration behaviour – their diversity, structure and use. Journal of Animal Ecology 2013, early online.
“A review evaluating and promoting migration models assisting studying fundamental ecological questions and addressing the spread of emerging zoonotic diseases, the proliferation of invasive species, aeronautical safety and migrant conservation.”

11.    McNamara JM, Barta Z, Klaassen M, Bauer S. Cues and the optimal timing of activities under environmental changes. Ecology Letters 2011, 14:1183-1190.
“Where empirical research is difficult, models can assist. We show how fitness consequences of environmental change vary dramatically depending on the subtle relation between environmental cue and optimal timing.”

Related links

Publications overview on Google Scholar
Publications overview on ResearcherID
Publications overview on ResearchGate
Profile on
Profile on Deakin

Current PhD students – Student name & Thesis Title

Meijuan Zhao – Health status of long-distance avian migrants in jeopardy along the East-Asian Australasian Flyway

Alice Risely – Avian migrants as vectors of zoonotic diseases in a changing world

Mohammad M. Hassan (Milad) – Who is the culprit: ecology and epidemiology of Avian Influenza at the wildlife – poultry interface in Bangladesh

Former PhD students

Bart Pollux
Bert Hidding
Bethany Hoye
Casper van Leeuwen
Jacintha van Dijk
Marta Ferenczi
Megan Underwood
Simeon Lisovski
Yaara Aharon-Rotman

Teaching areas

SLE 205 Vertebrate Structure Function and Evoloution
SLE 354 Disease Ecology & Epidemiology