Oded Berger-Tal 2009-2010

Institution of PhD:
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Academic Discipline of PhD:
Desert Ecology
PhD Advisor/s:
Prof. David Saltz
Dissertation Topic:
Confronting Novel Environments: The Trade-Off Between Exploration and Exploitation
Year Awarded PhD:
Institution of Postdoc:
University of California, Los Angeles
Present Institution:
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Present Academic Position:
Associate Professor

Oded Berger-Tal is a desert ecologist and senior lecturer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His main interest is the integration of behavioral ecology into wildlife conservation and management. On a theoretical level, he is helping develop the conceptual basis for the emerging field of ‘conservation behavior, as well as working to improve the accessibility of relevant behavioral knowledge to conservation practitioners. On a more practical and empirical level, he is investigating the behavior of the critically endangered California condor in order to find ways to encourage natural movement and foraging behaviors within the reintroduced condor populations, as part of an effort to achieve sustainability for this recovering species.

Oded wrote his PhD. on the optimal behavioral responses of animals to novel environments under the supervision of Prof. David Saltz at the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Ben Gurion University. His work included theoretical models, which were expanded to investigate human behavior as well, and empirical work focusing on the behavior of animals that have been reintroduced to the wild, therefore finding themselves in completely new environments. After receiving his PhD. Oded was a Rothschild and Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow, his postdoctoral research was done jointly at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research.

Oded’s work has been published in a variety of scientific journals, such as Conservation Biology, Behavioral Ecology and the Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution.