Host-parasite interactions
Universität Bielefeld > Faculty of Biology > Animal Behaviour > Host-parasite interactions

Host-parasite interactions

Nayden Chakarov


I am an old-school bird-guy with a strongly developed taste for parasites. So far I've been  concentrating on avian malaria-like parasites, but expansion is likely. I also have a quite strong interest in long-lived birds and have achieved some intimacy with birds of prey. They also like getting under my skin.

My research focuses on the ecology and evolution of infection, host-parasite coexistence, resistance and tolerance. I combine diverse methods, ranging from behavioural observation to using individual-based data, long-term population and genomic analyses, richly garnished with loads of fieldwork. Ultimately, my research aims at understanding why some parasites are less deadly and damaging than their reputation suggests.

I am also quite fascinated by discrete phenotypic polymorphisms, e.g. plumage polymorphisms. These are still quite enigmatic in their genetic and selection underpinnings, but appear to be one of the major life-history determinants in some species (or maybe attractants to the researchers of those species). Discrete polymorphisms seem to much too often correlate with a bunch of other probably selected traits. I believe with a good amount of work there is a lot about life to be understood there. Not insignificantly, discrete polymorphisms seem to often correlate with infection-related traits, which bring together my field of interest.  


Research interests

Host-parasite coevolution, Mechanisms of resistance and tolerance and transmission, Discrete phenotypic polymorphisms


Research projects


Raptors & Owls

Buzzards, eagles and eagle owls: these are the stars of a long-term research project aiming to understand life and death in wild animals living in cultivated landscapes. Why we need catapults, truck canopies, and your help in order to do this, you can find out here.

A Final Note

I very much welcome applications from students and postdocs who would like to work with me. If you are interested in working together, please contact me.


Nayden Chakarov

Bielefeld University
Department of Animal Behaviour
PO Box 10 01 31
33501 Bielefeld


Phone: +49 521 106 2620

Office: VHF-373