Prof. Eli Geffen

School of Zoology
ביה"ס לזואולוגיה סגל אקדמי בכיר
Prof. Eli Geffen
Fax: 03-6409403
Office: Sherman - Life Sciences, 305


Eli Geffen is a behavioral ecologist currently interested in mammalian social interactions and vocal communication. He is also interested in population genetics, largely associated with conservation biology issues. He is currently studying vocal communication among male rock hyraxes, with emphasis on understanding the role of syntax in their songs


Research Interests


  • Behavioral ecology - social dynamics and vocalization in the rock hyrax, visual communication in chameleons, and evolution of sociality in canids and other carnivores.
  • Population genetics - behavioral and environmental factors that influencing dispersal decisions in carnivores and other vertebrates.
  • Comparative studies on various behavioral aspects of birds and mammals.
  • Eco-physiology - The effects of parasite load on breeding success in rodents.


Recent Publications

For the full list.


Since 2017:


Yom-Tov Y, Hersteinsson P, Yom-Tov E, Geffen E. 2017. Harsh climate selects for small body size among Iceland Arctic foxes. Ecography 40:376–383.


Yom-Tov E, Yom-Tov Y, Yom-Tov S, Anderson M, Rosenfeld D, Devasthale A, Geffen E. 2017. The complex effects of geography, ambient temperature, and North Atlantic Oscillation on the body size of Arctic hares in Greenland. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 120:909-918.


Perl RGB, Gafny S, Malka Y, Renan S, Woodhams D, Rollins-Smith L, Pask JD, Bletz M, Geffen E, Vences M. 2017. Natural history and conservation of the rediscovered Hula painted frog, Latonia nigriventer. Contributions to Zoology 86: 11-36.


Demartsev V, Ilany A, Kershenbaum A, Geva Y, Margalit O, Shnitser I, Barocas A, Bar-Ziv E, Koren L, Geffen E. 2017. The progression pattern of male hyrax songs and the role of climactic ending. Scientific Reports 7:2794.


Goll Y, Demartsev V, Koren L, Geffen E. 2017. Male hyraxes increase countersinging as strangers become ‘nasty neighbours’. Animal Behaviour 134:9-14.


Renan S, Gafny S, Perl RGB, Roll U, Malka Y, Vences M, Geffen E. 2017. Living quarters of a living fossil - Uncovering the current distribution pattern of the rediscovered Hula painted frog (Latonia nigriventer) using environmental DNA. Molecular Ecology 26:6801–6812.


Keren-Rotem T, Roll, U, Bouskila A, Geffen E. 2018. The contextual separation of lateral white line patterns in chameleons. Royal Society Open Science 5:171235.


Barocas A, Hefner R, Ucko M, Merkle J, Geffen E. 2018. Behavioral adaptations of a large carnivore to human activity in an extremely arid landscape. Animal Conservation 21:433–443.


Perl BRG, Geffen E, Malka Y, Barocas A, Renan S, Vences M, Gafny S. 2018. Population genetic analysis of the recently rediscovered Hula painted frog (Latonia nigriventer) reveals high genetic diversity and low inbreeding. Scientific Reports 8:5588.


Koren L, Matas D, Pečnerová P, Dalén L, Tikhonov A, Gilbert MTP, Geffen E. 2018. Testosterone in ancient hair from an extinct species. Paleontology 61:797–802.Weissman Y, Demartsev V, Ilany A, Barocas A, Bar-Ziv E, Shnitzer I, Geffen E, Koren L. 2019. Acoustic stability in hyrax snorts: Vocal tightrope-walkers or wrathful verbal assailants? Behavioral Ecology 30:223–230.


Geffen E, Yom-Tov Y. 2019. Pacific island invasions: How do settlement time, latitude, island area, and number of competitors affect body size of the kiore across the Pacific? Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 126:462–470.


Demartsev V, Kershenbaum A, Ilany A, Barocas A, Weissman Y, Koren L, Geffen E. 2019. Life-long changes in vocal syntactic complexity are determined by alternative life history. Animal Behaviour 153:151-158.


Dufresnes C, Strachinis I, Suriadna N, Mykytynets G, Cogălniceanu D, Szekely P, Vukov T, Arntzen JW, Wielstra B, Lymberakis P, Geffen E, Gafny S, Kumlutaş Y, Ilgaz Ç, Candan K, Mizsei E, Szabolcs M, Savary R, Kolenda K, Smirnov N, Geniez P, Lukanov S, Crottini A, Crochet PA, Dubey S, Perrin N, Litvinchuk S, Denoël M. 2019. Phylogeography of a cryptic speciation continuum in Eurasian spadefoot toads (Pelobates). Molecular Ecology 28:3257-3270.


Weissman Y, Demartsev V, Ilany A, Barocas A, Bar-Ziv E, Geffen E, Koren L. 2019. Social context mediates testosterone’s influences on snort acoustics in male hyrax songs. Hormones and Behavior 114:104535.


Koren L, Weissman Y, Shnitser I, Beukeboom R, Bar Ziv E, Demartsev V, Barocas A, Ilany A, Geffen E. 2019. Sexually opposite effects of testosterone on mating success in wild rock hyrax. Behavioral Ecology 30:1611–1617.


Demartsev V, Gordon N, Barocas A, Bar-Ziv E, Ilany T, Goll Y, Ilany A, Geffen E. 2019. The “Law of Brevity” in animal communication: sex-specific signaling optimization is determined by call amplitude rather than duration. Evolution Letters 3:623-634.

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