People | Research | Publications | Teaching | Community | News

Information      -      Past Lab People      -      Picture Gallery


Anna Dubiec

Ph.D. Jagiellonian University, Cracow

Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Harvard University,
26 Oxford Street,
Cambridge, MA 02138

MCZ Room 500B
Tel: 617-496-9389
Fax: 617-495-5667




Ph.D.: Biology, Jagiellonian University, Cracow (Poland), 2003

M.S.: Biology, University of Warsaw, Warsaw (Poland) 1997

Research Interests:

My research interests fall into the field of evolutionary biology and include the topics of reproductive strategies, cost of reproduction and sex allocation patterns. My special interest is driven by the variation in immune function in the context of life history traits. I use birds as model organisms. In the previous research I explored how indices of immune function are affected by timing of breeding, rearing conditions and sex of birds. The studies showed e.g. that commonly observed seasonal decline in nestling immune function may be mediated by date-dependent environmental conditions rather than the differences in parental quality. Moreover, the deterioration of rearing conditions may differently affect cellular component of the immune system in male and female nestlings with males being more negatively affected than their female nest-mates. Currently my research focuses on:
1) age-related patterns of resource allocation in reproduction and immune function in blue tit females (in cooperation with Mariusz Cichon, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University),
2) a trade-off in the allocation of carotenoids in plumage coloration and immune function in blue tit nestlings (in cooperation with Mariusz Cichon, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University)
3) reproductive strategies in the house martin (in cooperation with Monika Zielinska, Institute of Ornithology, Polish Academy of Sciences)
4) MHC-based mate choice in a colonial species – the herring gull (in cooperation with Magdalena Zagalska-Neubauer, Institute of Ornithology, Polish Academy of Sciences).


As a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology I will be studying MHC-based choice of the social and extra-pair mates in the house finch. MHC-based mate choice has been relatively widely studied in mammals, including humans, and fish. Despite the fact that birds have been extensively used for studies of sexual selection and mate choice, so far little work has focused on the role of the MHC in this process. Females are expected to 1) preferentially mate with superior-condition males that are relatively resistant and hence may provide their offspring with MHC alleles associated with improved resistance to pathogens and/or they are expected to 2) mate disassortatively to produce MHC-diverse offspring as higher MHC diversity may translate into the resistance to a greater variety of pathogens. To address the question of mate choice in reference to MHC in the house finch, I am planning to use MHC class I and class II loci.


  • Zagalska-Neubauer M., Dubiec A. 2007. Molecular techniques and markers in studies of genetic variation in birds. Notatki Ornitologiczne 48: 193-206.

  • Sikora A., Dubiec A. 2007. Sex identification of Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus by discriminant analysis of morphometric measurements. Ardea 95: 125-133.
  • Wilk T., Dubiec A., Cichon M. 2007. Seasonal decline in cell-mediated immunity of collared flycatcher
    Ficedula albicollis nestlings: does the sex of offspring matter? Journal of Ornithology 148: 199-205.
  • Dubiec A., Cichon M., Deptuch K. 2006. Sex-specific development of cell-mediated immunity under experimentally altered rearing conditions in blue tit nestlings. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 273: 1759-1764.
  • Dubiec A., Zagalska-Neubauer M. 2006. Molecular techniques for sex identification in birds. Biological Letters 43: 3-12.
  • Dubiec A., Cichon M. 2005. Seasonal decline in nestling cellular immunocompetence results from environmental factors – an experimental study. Canadian Journal of Zoology 83: 920-925.
  • Cichon M., Dubiec A. 2005. Cell-mediated immunity predicts the probability of local recruitment in nestling blue tits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18: 962-966.
  • Dubiec A., Witek M., Cichon M. 2005. Seasonal decline in leukocyte concentrations and reproductive output in female great tits (Parus major). The Auk 122: 829-834.
  • Cichon M., Dubiec A., Stoczko M. 2003. Laying order and offspring sex in blue tits Parus caeruleus. Journal of Avian Biology 34: 355-359.
  • Dubiec A., Cichon M. 2001. Seasonal decline in health status of Great Tit (Parus major) nestlings. Canadian Journal of Zoology 79: 1829-1833.
  • Cichon M., Dubiec A., Chadzinska M. 2001. The effect of elevated reproductive effort on humoral immune function in collared flycatcher females. Acta Oecologica 22: 71-76.

Manuscripts in Review

Van den Steen E., Pinxten R., Jaspers V.L.B., Covaci A., Barba E., Carere C., Cichon M., Dubiec A., Eeva T., Heeb P., Kempenaers B., Lifjeld J.T., Lubjuhn T., Mänd R., Massa B., Nilsson J.-Å., Norte A.C., Orell M., Podzemny P., Sanz J.J., Senar J.C., Soler Cruz J.J., Sorace A., Török J., Visser M., Winkel W., Eens M. Brominated flame retardants and organochlorines in the European environment using great tit eggs as a biomonitoring tool.


Postdoctoral Fellowship of the Foundation for Polish Science (2006 – 2007), Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

Marie Curie Training Site Fellowship (2001 – 2002), Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Jyväskylä University, Jyväskylä, Finland

The Swedish Institute Fellowship (1998 – 1999), Department of Animal Ecology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden


Back to top