Biological Station “Rybachy”

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At the Biological Station “Rybachy”, various aspects of bird migration, including orientation and navigation, hormonal regulation of migration, long-term trends of seasonal events and of avian numbers are studied.

In the recent years, it was shown the use of the parameters of the geomagnetic field for navigation by migrating birds (magnetic map); the magnetic compass of birds is studied. It was also shown that spring and autumn migratory disposition, in spite of apparently similar physiological processes, differ in their hormonal background. It turned out that circadian rhythm alterations of locomotor activity during facultative nocturnal flights are similar to the ones during migratory flights, supporting the idea of the common underlying mechanism for nocturnality in avian annual cycle. In addition, Biological Station “Rybachy” together with the Šivickis Laboratory of Parasitology of the Lithuanian Nature Research Centre studies the mechanisms of virulence of avian blood parasites and their transcontinental spread by migrating birds.

The biological station “Rybachy” has an electronic database on trapping and intravital examination of birds based on the material of long-term standardized monitoring of bird abundance, dates of life cycle events, and physiological state of birds, constitutes more than 3 million records and is constantly replenished. Standard monitoring performed by the station in the Curonian Spit since 1957, enters the top three in the world longest continuous data series of such kind.


12 employees (10 researchers, 2 postgraduates).

Andrey L. Mukhin (Deputy Director of the Zoological Institute, Director of the station, Senior Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Alexander A. Davydov (Research Intern)

Irina V. Demina (Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Maria M. Erokhina (Research Assistant)

Dmitry Yu. Leoke (Junior Researcher)

Mikhail Yu. Markovets (Senior Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Alexander Ph. Pakhomov (Senior Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Elena V. Platonova (Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Alexandra Yu. Sinelschikova (Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Leonid V. Sokolov (Principal Researcher, Doctor of Biological Sciences)

Anatoly P. Shapoval (Senior Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Arseny L. Tsvey (Leading Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Topics of State Assignments

“Physiological and behavioural mechanisms of migration in birds and other animals”.
PI: Director of Station, Corresponding Member of RAS N.S. Chernetsov.
No. АААА-А19-119021190073-8.

“Control of seasonal migration in birds: endogenous stimuli and external factors”.
PI: Director of Station, Corresponding Member of RAS N.S. Chernetsov.
No. АААА-А16-116123010004-1.

Main publications of the Station staff

Loshchagina J., Tsvey A., Naidenko S. 2018. Baseline and stress-induced corticosterone levels are higher during spring than autumn migration in European robins. Hormones and Behavior 98: 96–102.

Pakhomov A., Anashina A., Heyers., Kobylkov D., Mouritsen H., Chernetsov N. 2018. Magnetic map navigation requires input from the trigeminal nerve in a migratory songbird. Scientific Reports 8: 11975.

Chernetsov N., Pakhomov A., Kobylkov D., Kishkinev D., Holland R.A., Mouritsen H. 2017. Migratory Eurasian reed warblers can use magnetic declination to solve the longitude problem. Current Biology 27(17): 2647–2651.

Sokolov L.V., Tsvey A.L. 2016. Mechanisms controlling the timing of spring migration in birds. Zoologicheskiy Zhurnal 95(11): 1362–1376. [Russian]

Sparks T.H., Crick H.Q.P., Dunn P., Sokolov L.V. 2013. Birds. In: Schwartz M. (Ed.) Phenology: An Integrative Environmental Science. Dordrecht: Springer: 451–466.

Chernetsov N. 2012. Passerine migration: stopovers and flight. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. 184 p.

Sokolov L.V. 2010. Climate in the Life of Plants and Animals. St. Petersburg: Tessa. 344 p. [Russian]

Station staff participate in the following grants

RSF No. 20-14-00049. “The price to cope with avian malaria: physiological cost of choosing a different defense strategie” (PI A.L. Mukhin).

RSF No. 17-14-01147. “Sensory systems underlying short- and long-distance navigation in birds” (PI D.A. Kishkinev).

RFBR No. 20-04-01059_а. “Light-dependent magnetoreception in songbird migrants: true or false?” (PI A.F. Pakhomov).

RFBR No. 19-04-01219_a. “The role of corticosterone and prolactin in hormonal control of migratory behaviour and physiology in passerine birds” (PI A.L. Tsvey).

RFBR No. 19-14-50676_Expansion. “A hierarchy of compass systems in migratory birds” (PI A.F. Pakhomov).

RFBR No. 18-04-00265_а. “Calibration of compass systems in migratory birds” (PI N.S. Chernetsov).

RFBR No. 17-34-50157_mol_nr. “Corticosterone as a physiological readiness cue for migratory departure” (PI A.L. Tsvey).

RFBR No. 16-34-50116_mol_nr. “Annual cycle of leukocyte profile in migratory passerines” (PI A.L. Tsvey).

RFBR No. 16-04-01773_a. “The role of corticosterone in regulation of seasonal migrations in passerines” (PI A.L. Tsvey).

RFBR No. 16-04-00761_а. “Comparison of migration strategy at the european and asian populations of the common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)” (PI L.V. Sokolov).

RFBR No. 15-04-05383_а. “Impact of oscillating magnetic fields of different frequency on orientation behaviour in passerines” (PI N.S. Chernetsov).

RFBR No. 15-34-51145_mol_nr. “Plasma corticosterone concentration in migratory passerines during autumn migration and wintering” (PI A.L. Tsvey).