Address

Departamental II – DII. 213
Area of Biodiversity and Conservation
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
c/ Tulipán, s/n.
E-28933 Móstoles (Madrid)
Spain

Phone: +34 91 488 7449
Fax:       +34 91 664 7490
E-mail: vicente.polo at urjc.es

Short CV

1978           Engineer in Telecomunication, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

1979-1987 Lecturer in Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

1984           Ph D in Engineering of Telecomunication, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

1987-1991 Associate professor (tenured), Computing Faculty, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

1995           Degree in Biology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

2000           Ph D in Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

2000-2002 Post-doc fellowship, University of Glasgow (United Kingdom)

2005-2008 Post-doc researcher, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales

2008-2010 Ramón y Cajal researcher, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

Current position

Associate professor

Research interests

Circadian routines and fattening strategies in small birds. To survive the winter conditions, which are changing and restrictive in highly seasonal environments, birds depend on their internal level of fat reserves. Because of this, natural selection has given priority to the appearance of physiological and ethological processes of fine-tuning of these internal levels. An experimental design investigated the causal agents that affect fattening strategies, such as temperature, light hours, level of dominance within the flock, quantity and predictability of food access, risk of predation and the costs of flight. Fieldwork has been carried out in two countries (Spain and Scotland). The works have led to a different model that fits the shape of the circadian routines of body weight.

Distribution and abundance of bird species by body size.- Birds, in general, can exploit three-dimensional environments . However, abundances are measured on the projected surface of the terrain. Due to this discrepancy, there are no good adjustments in the distribution of species by body size in this group of animals (and in others, like many arthropods, which may also live in very complex environments). I have analyzed the ecological and evolutionary components of 277 nesting passerines in the Western Palearctic of body weight as well as their habitat preferences and use of space while searching for food. The results showed that the evolution has not produced a neutral variation in size, in the sense that the highly complex means have favored the appearance of light species, able to exploit the fine structural segments of the same, whereas it does not appear to have hampered the settlement of large birds.

Sexual selection and systems of honest signaling in the black starling: role of testosterone in females.- Sexual selection is a mechanism of evolution that operates on some characters of individuals differently in relation to their sex. In a few cases, sexual selection is opposed to the processes of natural selection by the display of costly production structures (the handicap principle). I have researched different aspects of the honest display of behavioral traits in males and females of the black starling. My ultimate interest is to know the factors that affect the biological effectiveness and thus to be able to explain the evolution and stability of the sexual behaviors in these animals. The field work was carried out with the black starling on a plot of central Spain and with different species of the Sturnidae family in different habitats of Kenya.

Description of some biological processes using mathematical models.- Mathematical models allow the integrated formulation of a few biological processes. I am especially interested in those models that describe animal behavior and make predictions for future studies. In this sense I have investigated diverse aspects such as the shape of the circadian trajectories of weight, the optimal use of shelters against the predators, the survival of the expensive sex over other reproductive strategies and the adjustments of the investment of the reproduction parents in relation to the help of other individuals (cooperative breeding) or with the gender balance of the laying / litter.

Publications
  1. Rubalcaba, J. G.; Fuentes, D.; Veiga, J. P.; Polo, V. (2017). Nest decoration as social signals by males and females: greenery and feathers in starling colonies. Behavioral Ecology 28: 1369-1375.
  2. Rubalcaba, J. G.; Veiga, J. P.; Polo, V. (2017). Is offspring dispersal related to mate mating status? An experimente with the facultatively polygynous spotless starling. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 48: 203-208.
  3. Rubalcaba, J. G.; Polo, V., Maia, R.; Rubenstein, D. R.; Veiga, J. P. (2016). Sexual and natural selection in the evoltion of extended phenotypes: the use of green nesting materials in starlings. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 29: 1585-1592.
  4. Polo, V.; Rubalcaba, J. G.; Veiga, J. P. (2015). Green plants in the nest reduce offsping recruitmen rates in the spotless starling. Behavioral Ecology 26: 1131-1137.
  5. Carranza, J.; Polo, V. (2015). Sexual reproduction with variable mating systems can resist asexuality in a rock-paper-scissors dynamics. Royal Society Open Science 2: 140383.
  6. Veiga, J. P.; Wamiti, W.; Polo, V.; Muchai, M. (2013).  Interphyletic relationships in the use of nesting cavities: mutualism, competition and amensalism among hymenopterans and vertebrates. Naturwissennschaften 100: 827-834.
  7. Eens, M.; Jaspers, V. L. B.; van den Steen, E.; Bateson, M.; Carere, C.; Clergeau, P.; Costantini, D.; Dolenec, Z.; Elliott, J. E.; Flux, J., Gwinner, H.; Halbrouk, R. S.; Heeb, P.; Mazgajski, T. D.; Moksnes, A.; Polo, V.; Soler, J. J.; Sinclair, R.; Veiga, J. P.; Williams, T. D.; Covaci, A.; Pinxten, R. (2013). Can starlings eggs be usefun as a biomonitoring tool to study organohalognated contaminants on a worldwide scale? Environmental International 51: 141-149.
  8. Veiga, J. P.; Polo, V.; Arenas, M.; Sánchez, S. (2013). Nest intrusion in relation to breeding status in the spotless starling. Behaviour 150: 1553-1566.
  9. Veiga, J. P.; Wamiti, W.; Polo, V.; Muchai, M. (2013). Interaction between distant taxa in the use of tree cavities in African ecosystems: a study using nest-boxes. Journal of Tropical Ecology 29: 187-197.
  10. Delgado-Baquerizo, M.; Maestre, F. T.; Gallardo, A.; Bowker, M. A.; Wallenstein, M. D.; Quero, J. L.; Ochoa, V.; Gozalo, B.; García-Gómez, M.; Soliveres, S.; García-Palacios, P.; Berdugo, M.; Valencia, E.; Escolar, C.; Arredondo, T.; Barraza-Zepeda, C.; Bran, D.; Carreira, J. A.; Chaieb, M.; Conceição, A. A.; Derak, M.; Eldridge, D. J.; Escudero, A.; Espinosa, C. I.; Gaitán, J.; Gatica, M. G.; Gómez-González, S.; Guzman, E.; Gutiérrez, J. R.; Florentino, A.; Hepper, E.; Hernández, R. M.; Huber-Sannwald, E.; Jankju, M.; Liu, J.; Mau, R. L.; Miriti, M.; Monerris, J.; Naseri, K.; Noumi, Z.; Polo, V.; Prina, A.; Pucheta, E.; Ramírez, E.; Ramírez-Collantes, D. A.; Romão, R.; Tighe, M.; Torres, D.; Torres-Díaz, C.; Ungar, E. D.; Val, J.; Wamiti, W.; Wang, D.; Zaady, E. (2013). Decoupling of soil nutrient cycles as a function of aridity in global drylands. Nature 504: 672-676.
  11. Carranza, J.; Polo, V. (2012). Is there an expected relationship between parental expenditure and sex ratio of litters or broods? Animal Behaviour 84: 67-76.
  12. Veiga, J. P.; Polo, V.; Arenas, M.; Sánchez, M. (2012). Intruders in nests of the spotless starling: prospecting for public information or for immediate nesting resources? Ethology 118: 1-8.
  13. Veiga, J. P.; Polo, V. (2012). Female spotless starlings (Sturnus unicolor) remove green plants from their nests. Journal of Ornithology 153: 291-296.
  14. Maestre, F. T.; Quero, J. L.; Gotelli, N. J.; Escudero, A.; Ochoa, V.; Delgado-Baquerizo, M.; García-Gómez, M.; Bowker, M. A.; Soliveres, S.; Escolar, C.; García-Palacios, P.; Berdugo, M.; Valencia, E.; Gozalo, B.; Gallardo, A.; Aguilera, L.; Arredondo, T.; Blones, J.; Boeken, B.; Bran, D.; Conceiçaõ, A. A.; Cabrera, O.; Chaieb, M.; Derak, M.; Eldridge, D. J.; Espinosa, C. I.; Florentino, A.; Gaitán, J.; Gatica, M. G.; Ghiloufi, W.; Gómez-González, S.; Gutiérrez, J. R.; Hernández, R. M.; Huang, X.; Huber-Sannwald, E.; Jankju, M.; Miriti, M.; Monerris, J.; Mau, R. L.; Morici, E.; Naseri, K.; Ospina, A.; Polo, V.; Prina, A.; Pucheta, E.; Ramírez-Collantes, D. A.; Romão, R.; Tighe, M.; Torres-Díaz, C.; Val, J.; Veiga, J. P.; Wang, D.; Zaady, E. (2012). Plant species richness and ecosystem multifunctionality in global drylands. Science 335: 214-218. PDF
  15. Polo, V.; López, P.; Martín, J. (2011). Uncertainty about future predation risk modulates monitoring behaviour from refuges in lizards. Behavioral Ecology 13: 1-7.
  16. Polo, V.; López-Rull, I.; Gil, D.; Veiga, J. P. (2010). Experimental addition of green plants to the nest increases testosterone levels in female spotless starlings. Ethology 116: 129-137.
  17. Pérez-González, J. V.; Carranza, J.; Polo, V. (2010). Measuring female aggregation in ungulate mating systems research: a red deer case study. Wildlife Research 37: 301-310.
  18. Martín, J.; López, P.; Polo, V. (2009). Temporal patterns of predation risk affect antipredatory behaviour allocation by Iberian rock-lizards. Animal Behaviour 77: 1261-1266.
  19. Carrascal, L. M.; Seoane, J.; Palomino, D.; Polo, V. (2008). Explanations of bird species range size: Ecological correlates and phylogenetic effects in the Canary Islands. Journal of Biogeography 35: 2061-2073.
  20. Veiga, J. P.; Polo, V. (2008). Fitness consequences of increased testosterone levels in female spotless starlings. The American Naturalist 172: 42-53.
  21. Veiga J. P.; Polo, V.; Cordero, J. P. (2008). Age dependent sex ratio allocation in the polygynous spotless starlings. Evolutionary Ecology 22: 167-176.
  22. Carranza, J.; Polo, V.; Valencia, J.; Mateos, C.; de la Cruz, C. (2008). How should breeders react when aided by helpers? Animal Behaviour 75: 1534-1542.
  23. Polo, V.; Carrascal, L. M.; Metcalfe, N. B. (2007). The effects of latitude and day length on fatening strategies of wintering coal tits Periparus ater (L.): a field study and aviary experiment. Journal of Animal Ecology 76: 866-872.
  24. Polo, V.; Veiga, J. P. (2006). Nest ornamentation by female spotless starlings in response to a male display: an experimental study. Journal of Animal Ecology 75: 942-947.
  25. Martín, J.; de Neve, L.; Polo, V.; Fargallo, J. A.; Soler, M. (2006). Heath-dependent vulnerability to predation escape responses of unguarded chinstrap penguin chicks. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 60: 778-784.
  26. Fargallo, J. A.; Polo, V.; de Neve, L.; Dávila, J.A.; Soler, M. (2006). Hatching order and size-dependent mortality in relation to brood sex ratio composition in chinstrap penguins. Behavioral Ecology 17: 772-778.
  27. Moreno, J.; Polo, V. (2006). Comment on ‘The relationship between population means and variances of reproductive success differs between local populations of white stork (Ciconia ciconia)’ by Tryjanowsji at al. Population Ecology 48: 173-175.
  28. Carrascal, L. M.; Polo, V. (2006). Effects of wing area reduction on body mass and foraging behaviour in the coal tit (Parus ater) during winter: field and aviary experiment. Animal Behaviour 72: 663-672.
  29. Polo, V.; Bautista, L. M. (2006). Daily routines of body mass gain in birds: 1. An exponential model. Animal Behaviour 72: 503-516.
  30. Polo, V.; Bautista, L. M. (2006). Daily routines of body mass gain in birds: 2. An experiment with reduced food availability. Animal Behaviour 72: 517-522.
  31. Veiga, J. P.; Polo, V.; Viñuela, J. (2006). Nest green plants as a male status signal and courtship display in the spotless starling. Ethology 112: 196-204.
  32. de Neve, L.; Fargallo, J. A.; Polo, V.; Martín, J.; Soler, M. (2006). Subcolony characteristics and breeding performance in the chinstrap penguin Pygoscelis antarctica. Ardeola 53: 19-29.
  33. Veiga, J. P.; Polo, V. (2005). Feathers at nest are potential female signals in the spotless starling. Biology Letters 1: 334-337.
  34. López, P.; Hawlena, D.; Polo, V.; Amo, L.; Martín, J. (2005). Sources of interindividual shy-bold variation in antipredator behaviour of male Iberian rock-lizards. Animal Behaviour 69: 1-9.
  35. Polo, V.; López, P.; Martín J. (2005). Balancing the thermal costs and benefits of refuge use to cope with persistent attacks from predators: a model and an experiment with an alpine lizard. Evolutionary Ecology Research 7: 23-35.
  36. Polo, V.; Veiga, J. P.; Cordero, P. J.; Viñuela, J.; Monaghan, P. (2004). Female starlings adjust primary sex ratio in response to fresh plants in the nest. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 271: 1929-1933.
  37. Veiga, J. P.; Viñuela, J.; Cordero, P. J.; Aparicio, J. M.; Polo, V. (2004). The proximate mechanism of sex ratio determination in birds: an experiment test evidencing the role of maternal testosterone. Hormones and Behavior 46: 47-53.
  38. Martín, J.; de Neve, L.; Fargallo, J. A.; Polo, V.; Soler, M. (2004). Factors affecting the escape behaviour of juvenile chinstrap penguins, Pygoscelis antarctica, in response to human disturbance. Polar Biology 27: 775-781.
  39. Fargallo, J. A.; Dávila, J. A.; Potti, J.; de León, A.; Polo, V. (2004). Nest size and hatching sex ratio in the chinstrap penguin. Polar Biology 27: 339-343.
  40. Moreno, J.; Polo, V.; Sanz, J. J.; de León, A.; Mínguez, E.; Veiga, J. P. (2003). The relationship between population means and variances in reproductive success: implications of life history and ecology. Evolutionary Ecology Research 5: 1223-1237.
  41. de León, A.; Fargallo, J. A.; Polo, V.; Potti, J. (2002). Adult aggression during the post-guard phase in the chinstrap penguin Pygoscelis antarctica. Polar Biology 25: 355-359.
  42. Polo, V.; Bautista, L. M. (2002). Daily body mass regulation in dominance-structured coal tit (Parus ater) flocks in response to variable food access: a laboratory study. Behavioral Ecology 13: 696-704.
  43. Luna, F.; Polo, V.; Fernández-Santander, A. F.; Moral, P. (2001). Stillbirth pattern in an isolated Mediterranean population: La Alpujarra Spain. Human Biology 73: 561-573.
  44. Senar J. C.; Polo, V.; Uribe, F.; Camerino, M. (2000). Status signalling, dominance, metabolic rate and body mass in the siskin: the cost of being a subordinate. Animal Behaviour 59: 103-110.
  45. Polo, V.; Luna, F.; Fuster, V. (2000). Determinants of birth interval in a rural Mediterranean population (La Alpujarra, Spain). Human Biology 72: 877-890.
  46. Carrascal, L. M.; Polo, V. (1999). Coal tits, Parus ater, lose weight in response of chases by predators. Animal Behaviour 58: 281-285.
  47. Polo, V.; Carrascal, L. M. (1999). Shaping the body size distributions of Passeriformes: habitat preferences and body size in passeriformes are evolutiorarily and ecologically related. Journal of Animal Ecology 69: 323-337.
  48. Polo, V.; Carrascal, L. M. (1999). Ptilochronology and fluctuating asymmetry in tail and wing feathers in Coal Tit (Parus ater). Ardeola 56: 195-204.
  49. Polo, V.; Carrascal, L. M. (1998). Relación entre la condición física invernal y la capacidad de regenerar plumas en el Carbonero Garrapinos (Parus ater). Ardeola 45: 201-211.
  50. Luna, F.; Polo, V.; Fernández-Santander, A. F.; Moral, P. (1997). Spontaneous abortion pattern in an isolated Mediterranean population: La Alta Alpujarra Oriental (southeast Spain). Human Biology 69: 345-356.
  51. Polo, V; Carrascal, L. M. (1997). El ciclo diurno de ganancia de peso durante el invierno en una población silvestre de Parus cristatus en el centro de España. Ardeola 44: 217-226.
  52. Polo, V.; Fernández, F.; Sánchez, A. (1992). Parallel implementation of local averaging for image-processing. Microprocessing and Micropogramming 34: 215-218.

Polo, V. (2013). Modelos matemáticos en ecología: aplicación al dilema halcón vs. paloma. Ecosistemas 22: 6-11.

Carrascal, L. M.; Palomino, D.; Polo, V. (2008). Patrones de distribución, abundancia y riqueza de especies de la avifauna terrestre de la isla de La Palma (Islas Canarias). Graellsia 64: 209-232.

Polo, V.; Carrascal, L. M. (2008). Nocturnal body mass loss in coal tit (Periparus ater): the combined effects of ambient temperatures and body reserves. Ornis Sinnica 54: 615-621.

Polo, V.; Veiga, J. P. (2010). El comportamiento de acarreo de plantas y plumas a los nidos de estornino negro. Quercus 288: 14-23.

Veiga, J. P.; Polo, V.; Wamiti, W. (2009). Competencia entre taxones de animales por los huecos de nidificación en África. Quercus 282: 24-31.

Veiga, J. P.; Polo, V. (2008). Los estorninos machos atraen a las hembras por medio de flores. Periódico del MNCCNN 5: 12.

Polo, V.; Bautista, L. M. (2004). Estrategias para administrar las reservas de grasa. Cambios diarios en el peso de las aves pequeñas. Quercus 222: 50-53.

Polo, V. (2003). Altruismo e interés en el pingüino barbijo. Quercus 207: 36-37.

Polo, V. (1986). Predicción de marcas atléticas. Corricolari 5: 38-34.

Polo, V.; Bautista, L. M. (2010). Estrategias para administrar las reservas de grasa. Cambios diarios en el peso de las pequeñas aves. In: Carranza, J.; Moreno, J.; Soler, M. (eds.) Estudios sobre comportamiento animal: 29-39. Universidad de Extremadura, Cáceres.

Polo, V. (2010). Otras latitudes ¿Altruismo o interés guían la reproducción del pingüino barbijo? In: Carranza, J.; Moreno, J.; Soler, M. (eds.) Estudios sobre comportamiento animal: 295-302. Universidad de Extremadura, Cáceres.

Polo, V.; Santander, A. F.; Luna, F. (1995). Determinantes de la mortalidad prerreproductiva en una población de la Alta Alpujarra (Andalucía). In: Nieto, J. L.; Aznar, L. M. (eds.) Avances en antropología, ecología y genética: 537-544. Zaragoza.

Polo, V. (2005). El Carbonero Garrapinos (Parus ater). In: Carrascal, L. M.; Salvador, A. (eds.) Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid.

Veiga, J. P.; Polo, V. (2004). El Estornino negro (Sturnus unicolor). In: Carrascal, L. M.; Salvador, A. (eds.) Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid.