Research interests

I am broadly interested in questions within behavioural and evolutionary ecology, with emphasis on avian systems. My main research has focussed on habitat selection relative to traditional enemies: competitors, predators and brood parasites. I investigate the interplay of both positive and negative aspects of interactions with enemies and how these influence the decisions of individuals.

Section of Ecology

Department of Biology

University of Turku

FI-20014 Turku, Finland



Note there is no ”p” in my Thomson

Homepage of

Robert L. Thomson


Publications (as of February 2014)


1. Thomson RL, Pakanen V-M, Tracy DM, Kvist L, Lank DB, Rönkä A and Koivula K. 2014. Providing parental care entails variable mating opportunity costs for male Temminck’s stints. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, in press.

2. Rymer TL, Thomson RL and Whiting MJ. 2014. At home with the birds: Kalahari tree skinks associate with sociable weaver nests despite African pygmy falcon presence. Austral Ecology, in press.

3. Pakanen, V-M., Rönkä, N., Thomson, R.L. and Koivula, K. 2014. Informed renesting decisions: the effect of nest predation risk. Oecologia 174:1159-1167. Copyright owned by  Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

4. Morosinotto, C., Thomson, R.L. and Korpimäki, E. 2013. Plasticity in incubation behaviour under experimentally prolonged vulnerability to nest predation. Behaviour 150:1767-1786. Copyright owned by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden

5. Thomson, R. L., Sirkiä, P. M., Villers, A. and Laaksonen, T. 2013. Temporal peaks in social information: prospectors investigate conspecific nests after a simulated predator visit. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67:905-913.

6. Morosinotto, C., Ruuskanen, S., Thomson, R.L., Siitari, H., Korpimäki, E. and Laaksonen T. 2013. Predation risk affects the levels of maternal immune factors in avian eggs. Journal of Avian Biology 44:427-436.

7. Forsman, J. T., Mönkkönen, M. Korpimäki, E. and Thomson, R. L. 2013. Mammalian nest predator feces as a cue in avian habitat selection decisions. Behavioral Ecology 24: 262-266.

8. Thomson, R. L., Tomás, G., Forsman, J. T. and Mönkkönen, M. 2012. Manipulating individual decisions and environmental conditions reveal individual quality in decision-making and non-lethal costs of predation risk. Plos One 7:e52226.

9. Gilbert, M., Sokha, C., Joyner, P. H., Thomson, R. L. and Poole, C. 2012. Characterizing the trade of wild birds for merit release in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and associated risks to health and ecology. Biological Conservation 153: 10-16.

10. Sridhar, H., Srinivasan, U., et al. 2012. Positive relationships between association strength and phenotypic similarity characterize the assembly of mixed-species bird flocks worldwide. The American Naturalist 180: 777-790.

11. Morosinotto, C., Thomson, R.L., Hänninen, M. and Korpimäki, E. 2012. Higher nest predation in association with a top predator: mesopredator attraction? Oecologia 170:507-515.

12. Chhin, S., Nielsen, H. and Thomson, R. L. 2012. First record  of the Asian paradise-flycatcher subspecies Tersiphone paradise indochinensis for Cambodia, and an undertermined species of Zoothera. Cambodian Journal of Natural History, 2012: 107-110.

13. Thomson, R. L., Forsman, J. T. and Mönkkönen, M. 2011. Risk taking in natural predation risk gradients: support for risk allocation from breeding pied flycatchers. Animal Behaviour 82: 1443-1447.

14. Thomson, R. L., Tomás, G., Forsman, J. T., Broggi, J. and Mönkkönen, M. 2010. Predator proximity as a stressor in breeding flycatchers: mass loss, stress protein induction, and workload. Ecology 91: 1832-1840.

15. Morosinotto, C., Thomson, R. L. and Korpimäki, E. 2010. Habitat selection as an antipredator behaviour in a multi-predator landscape: all enemies are not equal. Journal of Animal Ecology 79: 327-333.

16. Salo, P., Nordström, M., Thomson, R.L. and Korpimäki, E. 2008. Risk induced by a native top predator reduces alien mink movements. Journal of Animal Ecology, 77: 1092-1098.

17. Forsman, J. T. and Thomson, R. L. 2008. Prospecting for heterospecific information in cavity nesting birds. Ibis 150: 409-412.

18. Thomson, R. L. and Ferguson, J. W. H. 2007. Composition and foraging behaviour of mixed-species flocks in two adjacent African woodland habitats: a spatial and temporal perspective. Ostrich 78: 65-73.

19. Seppänen, J. -T., Mönkkönen, M., Forsman, J. T. and Thomson, R. L. 2007. Social information use is a process across time, space and ecology, reaching heterospecifics. Ecology 88: 1622-1633.

20. Forsman, J. T., Thomson, R. L. and Seppänen, J. -T. 2007. Facultative information parasitism via breeding site selection between resident and migrant birds. Behavioral Ecology 18: 888-894.

21. Mönkkönen, M., Husby, M., Tornberg, R., Helle, P. and Thomson, R. L. 2007. Predation as a landscape effect: the trading off by prey species between predation risks and protection benefits. Journal of Animal Ecology 76: 619-629.

22. Broggi, J., Hohtola, E., Koivula, K., Orell, M., Thomson, R. L. and Nilsson, J. -Å. 2007. Sources of variation in winter basal metabolic rate in the great tit (Parus major L.). Functional Ecology 21: 528-533.

23. Thomson, R. L., Forsman, J. T., Sardá-Palomera, F. and Mönkkönen, M. 2006. Fear factor: prey habitat selection in a predation risk landscape. Ecography 29: 507-514.

24. Thomson, R. L., Forsman, J. T., Mönkkönen, M., Hukkanen, M., Koivula, K., Rytkönen, S. and Orell, M. 2006. Predation risk effects on fitness related measures in a resident bird. Oikos 113: 325-333.

25. Mönkkönen, M., Forsman, J. T. and Thomson, R. L. 2004. Qualitative geographical variation in interspecific interactions. Ecography 27: 112-118.

26. Thomson, R. L., Forsman, J. T. and Mönkkönen, M. 2003. Positive interactions between migrant and resident birds: testing the heterospecific attraction hypothesis. Oecologia 134: 431-438.