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Ron Efrat 2019-2020

Institution of PhD:
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Academic Discipline of PhD:
Desert Ecology
PhD Advisor/s:
Dr. Oded Berger-Tal
Dissertation Topic:
The Effects of Learning and Experience on the Survival and Migration Proficiencies of Captive-bred and Wild Vultures
Present Academic Position:
PhD Student

Ron grew up in Rosh Pina, a picturesque town in northern Israel, where his parents raised him to love and respect nature and people. This upbringing led him to volunteer as a guide in the Hanoar Ha‘oved Vehalomed youth movement and later to continue volunteering, guiding and teaching. Ron received his BSc in biology and environmental studies from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During his undergraduate studies, he participated in a research project in the lab of Prof. Ran Nathan, where he later completed his MSc research, studying behavior modifications of pelicans during their migration across the Sahara Desert. During and after his MSc, Ron was involved in many other avian ecology
projects, with the ultimate goal of advancing bird conservation.

Wishing to focus more on applied research, Ron moved to Midreshet Ben-Gurion for his PhD and joined Dr. Oded Berger-Tal’s conservation and animal behavior lab. Ron’s research focuses on understanding complex animal behaviors and learning processes and the implementation of this understanding in conservation. He is comparing captive-bred reintroduced vultures and wild-bred vultures with regard to the learning process and its consequences on behavior and survival. His initial results show that different early-life experiences affect the behavior and survival of vultures in later stages of their lives. He hopes that the results of his PhD research, and other projects in which he is involved, will be useful in advancing conservation issues and broadening the understanding of animal ecology and behavior, both locally and globally.