Dr. Beate Apfelbeck

Chair for Terrestrial Ecology

Department of Ecology and Ecosystemmanagement
Technische Universität München
Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2
D-85350 Freising-Weihenstephan

Phone: +49.8161.71.4861
Fax:     +49.8161.71.4427
E-mail: beate.apfelbeck[at]tum.de

Curriculum vitae

Since 2016 Technische Universität München, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Chair for Terrestrial Ecology
2013- 2016 Feodor Lynen Research Fellow at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine (University of Glasgow, Scotland) studying physiology and genetics of life history differences between African and European stonechats (Saxicola torquata).
2012 Postdoctoral researcher, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany
2007- 2012 PhD thesis on the territorial behaviour and its relation to testosterone in the black redstart. Supervised by Wolfgang Goymann (MPI for Ornithology, Germany)
2002- 2007 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU), Munich, Germany. Diploma thesis on behavioural and hormonal effects of social isolation and neophobia in a flocking bird species, the starling (MPI for Ornithology and LMU).

Research interest

The main aim of my work is to understand basic relationships between behaviour, hormones and reproductive success and how these relationships vary on a seasonal basis and in different environments. I am using birds as model systems to study the role of the steroid hormones testosterone and corticosterone as mediators of reproductive behaviours (e.g. territorial behaviour, song and parental care). My study sites lie in tropical East Africa and in temperate Europe. In particular, I currently study how life history variation has shaped variation in behaviour and physiology in stonechats and how habitat fragmentation and degradation affects behaviour, physiology and fitness of an East African cloud forest bird species.



Apfelbeck, B., M. F. Haussmann, W. Boner, H. Flinks, K. Griffiths, J. C. Illera, K. G. Mortega, Z. Sisson, P. Smiddy and B. Helm. 2019. Divergent patterns of telomere shortening in tropical compared to temperate stonechats. Ecology and Evolution 9:511-521. PDF

Jakoby, C., R. Rogers, B. Apfelbeck, H. T. E. and W. W. Weisser. 2019. Die Bewertung von Wildtieren durch Wohnungsbaugesellschaften im Wohnumfeld. Natur und Landschaft 5:181-187. PDF


Apfelbeck, B., H. Flinks and W. Goymann. 2017. Territorial aggression does not feed back on testosterone in a multiple-brooded songbird species with breeding and non-breeding season territoriality, the European stonechat. Hormones and Behavior 87:89-95. PDF

Apfelbeck, B., B. Helm, J. C. Illera, K. G. Mortega, P. Smiddy and N. P. Evans. 2017. Baseline and stress-induced levels of corticosterone in male and female Afrotropical and European temperate stonechats during breeding. BMC Evolutionary Biology 17:114. PDF

Apfelbeck, B., K. G. Mortega, H. Flinks, J. C. Illera and B. Helm. 2017. Testosterone, territorial response, and song in seasonally breeding tropical and temperate stonechats. BMC Evolutionary Biology 17:101. PDF Link to BMC


Apfelbeck, B., H. Flinks and W. Goymann. 2016. Variation in circulating testosterone during mating predicts reproductive success in a wild songbird. Frontiers Ecology And Evolution 4:107. PDF


Goymann, W., C. P. Villavicencio and B. Apfelbeck. 2015. Does a short-term increase in testosterone affect the intensity or persistence of territorial aggression? - An approach using an individual's hormonal reactive scope to study hormonal effects on behavior. Physiology & Behavior 149:310-316. PDF


Villavicencio, C. P., B. Apfelbeck and W. Goymann. 2014. Parental care, loss of paternity and circulating levels of testosterone and corticosterone in a socially monogamous song bird. Frontiers in Zoology 11:1-13. PDF


Apfelbeck, B., K. Mortega, S. Kiefer, S. Kipper, M. Vellema, C. P. Villavicencio, M. Gahr and W. Goymann. 2013. Associated and disassociated patterns in hormones, song, behavior and brain receptor expression between life-cycle stages in male black redstarts, Phoenicurus ochruros. General and Comparative Endocrinology 184:93-102. PDF

Apfelbeck, B., K. G. Mortega, S. Kiefer, S. Kipper and W. Goymann. 2013. Life-history and hormonal control of aggression in black redstarts: Blocking testosterone does not decrease territorial aggression, but changes the emphasis of vocal behaviours during simulated territorial intrusions. Frontiers in Zoology 10:1-15. PDF

Villavicencio, C. P., B. Apfelbeck and W. Goymann. 2013. Experimental induction of social instability during early breeding does not alter testosterone levels in male black redstarts, a socially monogamous songbird. Hormones and Behavior 64:461-467. PDF


Apfelbeck, B., S. Kiefer, K. G. Mortega, W. Goymann and S. Kipper. 2012. Testosterone affects song modulation during simulated territorial intrusions in male black redstarts (Phoenicurus ochruros). PLoS ONE 7:e52009. PDF


Apfelbeck, B. and W. Goymann. 2011. Ignoring the challenge? Male black redstarts (Phoenicurus ochruros) do not increase testosterone levels during territorial conflicts but they do so in response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 278:3233-3242. PDF

Apfelbeck, B., J. Stegherr and W. Goymann. 2011. Simulating winning in the wild - The behavioral and hormonal response of black redstarts to single and repeated territorial challenges of high and low intensity. Hormones and Behavior 60:565-571. PDF


Apfelbeck, B. and M. Raess. 2008. Behavioural and hormonal effects of social isolation and neophobia in a gregarious bird species, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Hormones and Behavior 54:435-441. PDF