Behavioural Ecology


altDirecteur de recherche au CNRS

Directeur du département Ecologie Evolutive et Comportementale

Campus du CNRS
1919, route de Mende
34293 Montpellier cedex 5

Tél : +33/0 4 67 61 32 44
Fax : +33/0 4 67 61 33 36


Research Interests

  1. -Olfaction in birds
  2. -Chemical communication in petrel seabirds: individual recognition, olfactory signature, mate choice, MHC based mate choice
  3. -Orientation and Navigation in animals: navigation mechanisms of pelagic seabirds, olfactory navigation



  • 1991 Laurea in Natural Science, Pisa University (Italy). Effects of zinc sulphate-induced anosmia on homing behaviour of pigeons. (110/110, cum laude).
  • 1996 PhD (Animal biology and Ethology) at Pisa University (Italy). Animal Orientation and navigation investigated by the means of a data logger: the "route recorder".
  • 1997 Laurea in Biology, Pisa University (Italy). Foraging patterns of breeding Thick-billed murres (Uria Lomvia) in Iceland, as revealed by a direction recorder. (110/110, cum laude).


Post-doctoral research activities

1996-1997 Foraging activity of Brünnich guillemots (Uria lomvia). Island. Collaboration with Dr. G.A. Gudmundsson, Iceland Institute of Natural History de Reykjavik. Financed by Pisa University.

1997-1998 Impact of power lines on birds nesting on electricity pylons. Italy. Collaboration with Dr. Giacomo Dell'Omo, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Rome). Financed by Istituto Superiore di Sanità.

1999-2000 Foraging activity and orientating behaviour of Antarctic fur seal at Kerguelen archipelago in relation to oceanographic conditions. France. Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé CNRS. financed by Marie Curie post-doctoral fellowship.

2000-2001 Petrels and albatrosses' orientation and foraging. France. Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé CNRS, financed by Italian National Research Council (CNR) post-doctoral fellowship.

2001-to present Orientation of pelagic animals. Olfaction in petrels. CEFE-CNRS Montpellier, France. Researcher position at CNRS.

Main advances in petrels' olfaction studies

Bonadonna, F. & Nevitt, G. A. 2004. Partner-specific odor recognition in an Antarctic seabird. Science, 306, 835.

Mardon, J., Saunders, S. M., Anderson, M. J., Couchoux, C. & Bonadonna, F. 2010. Species, Gender, and Identity: Cracking Petrels' Sociochemical Code. Chemical Senses, 35, 309-321.

Bonadonna, F. & Sanz-Aguilar, A. 2012. Kin recognition and inbreeding avoidance in wild birds: the first evidence for individual kin-related odour recognition. Animal Behaviour, 84, 509-513.

Strandh, M., Westerdahl, H., Pontarp, M., Canbäck, B., Dubois, M. P., Miquel, C., Taberlet, P. & Bonadonna, F. 2012. MHC class II but not class I predicts mate choice for compatibility in the olfactory oriented blue petrel, Halobaena caerulea (Procelariiformes) - as revealed by massively parallel pyrosequencing. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 279, 4457–4463.

Leclaire, S., Strandh, M., Mardon, J., Westerdahl, H. & Bonadonna, F. 2017. Odour-based discrimination of MHC-similarity in birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 284, 2016-2466.


Other relevant publications

Nesterova, A. P., Mardon, J. & Bonadonna, F. 2009. Orientation in a Crowded Environment: Can King Penguin Chicks (Aptenodytes patagonicus) Find Their Crèches? Journal of Experimental Biology, 212, 210-216.

Gagliardo, A., Bried, J., Lambardi, P., Luschi, P., Wikelski, M. & Bonadonna, F. 2013. Olfactory oceanic navigation in an Atlantic seabird. Journal of Experimental Biology, 216, 2798-2805.

Caro, S., Balthazart, J. & Bonadonna, F. 2015. The perfume of reproduction in birds: Chemosignalling in avian social life. Hormones and Behavior, 68, 25-42.

Gabirot, M., Raux, L., Dell'Ariccia, G., Bried, J., Ramos, R., Gonzalez Solis, J., Buatois, B., Crochet, P. A. & Bonadonna, F. 2016. Chemical labels differ between two closely related shearwater taxa. Journal of Avian Biology, 47, 1-12.

Cunningham, G. B., Leclaire, S., Toscani, C. & Bonadonna, F. 2016. Responses of King penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) adults and chicks to two food-related odours. Journal of Avian Biology, in press.

Dell'Ariccia, G., Phillips, R. A., van Franeker, J. A., Gaidet, N., Catry, P., Granadeiro, J. P., Ryan, P. G. & Bonadonna, F. 2017. Comment on “Marine plastic debris emits a keystone infochemical for olfactory foraging seabirds” by Savoca et al. Science Advances, 3, e1700526.


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