Nolwenn Fresneau


My academic background started in France in the university of Rennes 1 (2007-2010) where I obtained my bachelor degree in biology of the organisms, but also where I discovered behavioural ecology and actively participated in bird watching and nature exploring.

During my first year of the master degree (university of Rennes 1, 2010-2011), with a qualification in Functional, behavioural and evolutionary ecology, I went to  Gotland (Sweden) for 3 months to carry out my individual research project under the supervision of Dr. Barbara Tschirren. I studied there, the role of food predictability and food availability in influencing the adaptive value of prenatal maternal effects in great tit (Parus major).

Then, I moved to the south of France in Toulouse to follow my second year of master (2011-2012) in the university of Paul Sabatier III. I followed a master with a qualification in biodiversity ecology and evolution. During this academic year I went for 6months in Finland in order to carry out my master thesis under the supervision of Dr. Jon Brommer where I studied the individual constancy and behavioural syndrome in aggressiveness during nest defence, self-defence and in response to stress in a blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) population during the breeding season.

In October 2012, I started my PhD project in Antwerp (Belgium). I worked on the evolution of intra-family interactions in canaries (Serinus canaria) and blue tits. I was mainly focussing on the begging behaviour of nestlings and its implication in parent-offspring communication but also in sibling competition. In 2017, I obtained my PhD degree and continued to work on this project during a short-term postdoctoral position.

In April 2019 I started a new project in the University of Pannonia (Veszprém, Hungary) under the supervision of Prof. Andras Liker. This current research focuses on understanding the demographic drivers of sex-role reversal and skewed sex ratio in a fascinating polyandrous and sex-role reversed shorebird: the Pheasant-tailed Jacana. This project combines field work (including behavioural observation, population monitoring and some morphological measurement), sex ratio analysis and comparative analysis.

I spent 3 months in Taiwan from June to September 2019 following the breeding of a population of the Pheasant-tailed Jacana. In 2020, I made a new collaboration with a researcher in Thailand: Dr. Wangworn Sankamethawee from Khon Kaen University for further field work.

A field work from April until August 2020 was planned in Thailand. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic it is now postponed until further notice.


Address: Room N-14, Building N, University of Pannonia,
Wartha Vince utca 1, 8200 Veszprém, Hungary
Email: nolwenn.fresneau[at]
Twitter: @NolwennFresneau
Research Gate:

List of Publications:

Fresneau, N, Estramil, N, Müller, W. Are offspring begging levels exaggerated beyond the parental optimum? Evidence from a bidirectional selection experiment. J Evol Biol. 2020; 00: 1–12. DOI:

Fresneau N. & Müller W. (2018). Flexible communication within bird families – the consequences of behavioural plasticity for parent-offspring coadaptation, Ecology and Evolution, 0(0), 1–10 DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4796

Fresneau N., Iserbyt A., Lucass C. & Müller W. (2018). Size matters but hunger prevails –begging and provisioning rules in blue tit families, PeerJ, 6:e5301 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5301

Iserbyt A., Fresneau N., Kortenhoff T., Eens M. and Müller W. (2017). Decreasing parental task specialization promotes conditional cooperation, Scientific reports, 7, 6565 DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-06667-1

Fresneau, N., & Müller, W. (2016). Information warfare in avian families: sex-specific begging responses to need and social environment in canary nestlings. Animal Behaviour, 115, 137–143 DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.03.015

Lucass C., Fresneau N., Eens M., & Müller W. (2016). Sex roles in nest keeping – how information asymmetry contributes to parent-offspring co-adaptation. Ecology and Evolution, 6(6), 1825–1833 DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1976

Fresneau N., Kluen E., & Brommer J. E. (2014). A sex-specific behavioral syndrome in a wild passerine. Behavioral Ecology, 25, 359–367 DOI: 10.1093/beheco/aru008


Conference oral presentation

Elvonal Shorebird Science Conference (2020), Hungary, “The Pheasant-tailed Jacana, its sex-ratio and pair bonding: story of a sex reversed and polyandrous bird”

Magyar Etológiai Társaság Konferenciája (2019), Hungary, “Pair-bonding and parental behaviour of the sex-role reversed Pheasant-tailed jacana”

International Wader Study Goup Conference (2019), United Kingdom, “How to deal with love triangles in the Pheasant-tailed jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus

16th Congress European Society for Evolutionary Biology (2017), The Netherlands, “Consequences of a bidirectional selection on begging for associated fitness traits”

23rd Congress of Zoology (2016), Belgium, “Tell me what you want, what you really really want: applying a behavioural reaction norm approach on parent-offspring communication”

Seminar in Ecology and Evolution (2016), Belgium, “I can’t give everything away: on begging strategies of blue tit nestlings”

34th International Ethological Conference (2015), Australia, “It takes two to tango – consequences of artificial selection on parent-offspring communication”

Seminar in Ecology and Evolution (2014), Belgium, “Genetic and phenotypic mechanisms of begging in canaries”

European Meeting of PhD Students in Evolutionary Biology 19 (2013), United Kingdom, “In search of underlying mechanisms of begging behaviour: physiological and genetics covariances”


Conference Poster presentation

Research Day (2015), Belgium, “Evolutionary ecological perspectives on bird family life -to beg or not to beg”

7th European Conference on Behavioural Biology (2014), Czech Republic, Bidirectional artificial selection on begging behaviour in canaries”


Conference organization:

European Meeting of PhD Students in Evolutionary Biology 20 (2014) part of the Organizing committee