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Dmitry Kishkinev

Lecturer in Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Neuroscience, Keele University

Born and raised in Russia, in 2003 I graduated with Diploma (biology and chemistry teacher) from the Ulyanovsk Pedagogical University. During my undergraduate (1998-2003) and later MSc studies (2003-2005) at the Saint Petersburg State University, Russia, I was contributing to several research projects in the field of avian movement ecology and bird navigation under the supervision of the academic staff of the Biological station Rybachy with which I still collaborate. This research institution is remarkable for being the descendant of the world’s first bird observatory ‘Vogelwarte Rossitten’ (German: ‘Bird Observatory Rossitten’) established in 1901 on the southeastern coast of the Baltic Sea - a hot spot for bird migration in Europe. Now it is a branch of the Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences and one of the leading centres studying bird migration. In 2005, I obtained MSc in Biology from Saint Petersburg State University. That time I started a series of research projects on bird navigation addressing the question of how birds navigate. Specifically, I have delivered several experimental studies focused on the ability of migratory Eurasian reed warblers, Acrocephalus scirpaceus, typical European migratory songbirds, to find their way across 100’s and 1,000’s km and reach their migratory destinations even when they were displaced to unfamiliar territories (the phenomenon is called true navigation). In the past 15 years, myself with the international team of collaborators have done a series of experimental studies using reed warblers to address the questions of what are the senses birds require for finding their location relative to the goal. One of our main findings is that a trigeminal nerve dependent magnetic sense seems to be crucial for navigation in reed warblers and perhaps some other avian species (Kishkinev et al. 2013 PLoS One, Kishkinev et al. 2015 Curr Biol). In 2011, I earned a PhD in Biology working in Animal Navigation Lab, University of Oldenburg, Germany. This group is led by Prof Henrik Mouritsen and renown in the field of animal navigation and animal magnetoreception. My PhD was based on a range of field- and laboratory-based studies focused on different aspects of bird navigation and magnetosensory mechanisms including displacement experiments, orientation tests of birds in round arenas (so-called Emlen funnels), operant conditioning, brain activity mapping using neuronal activity markers and various magnetic manipulations.

During my postdoctoral years, I initially delivered my research project examining the role of magnetic and olfactory senses for bird navigation working in Canada (Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship funded by NSERC at the Norris Lab, University of Guelph, Ontario, 2012-14). Later in 2014, I moved to the UK to work as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant for the Leverhulme research grant led by Dr Richard Holland (former Queen’s University Belfast and now Bangor University). During those years I was actively engaged in several research projects mainly based overseas. In Austria (Biological station Illmitz) I did experiments to test the current hypotheses explaining how reed warblers can use earth’s magnetic field for navigation and positioning. In Russia, I used light-level geolocators to track songbirds migratory pathways and the impact of blood parasites on migratory performance in songbirds (Emmenegger et al., in review). In 2017, I started leading research on the two projects. My Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (2017-present) was initially based in Bangor University. The project titled “The disturbing effect of electromagnetic fields on the avian magnetic compass sense” aims to further study a recently discovered disturbing effect of anthropogenic electromagnetic fields on the avian magnetic compass sense. I also led a team of overseas academics delivering the grant funded by Russian Science Foundation (project titled “Sensory systems for short and long-distance navigation in birds”). This project addressed the questions of how migratory songbirds can use magnetic and olfactory senses for finding their geographic position relative to destinations, whether the use of these senses depends on geographic scale (short vs long distances) and where magnetosensensory cells (aka magnetoreceptors) could be located in the animal's body.


  • 2019–present
    Lecturer in Animal Behaviour / Behavioural Neuroscience, Keele University