Dr. Shay Rotics

School of Zoology
The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History
ביה"ס לזואולוגיה סגל אקדמי בכיר
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University Records 

2018-2022   Post-doctoral researcher in the Dept. of Zoology, University of Cambridge, supervisors: Prof Tim Clutton-Brock and Dr Markus Zottl, Research topic: investigating cooperative behavior in meerkats and mole-rats using body-acceleration biologging

2012-2017   PhD in Ecology, Dept. of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, supervisor: Prof Ran Nathan, Dissertation Title: “Understanding movement patterns and their implications on fitness in a long-distance avian migrant: the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)”

2006-2008   MSc in Zoology (Summa cum laude), Dept. of Zoology, Tel-Aviv University, Supervisors: Prof Tamar Dayan and Prof Noga Kronfeld-Schor, Thesis Title: “Light pollution effects on the common spiny mouse and the golden spiny mouse at Ain Gedi”

2005            Supplementary studies towards an MSc. in Zoology, Dept. of Zoology, Tel-Aviv University

2000-2003   BSc in Computer Science (Magna cum Laude) and Psychology, University of Haifa

Research Interest

I am a biologging scientist with a diverse interest in animal behaviour in the wild. My research has concentrated so far on cooperative breeding in meerkats and mole-rats, bird migration, and anthropogenic effects on wildlife behaviour. Using data-loggers, I aim to uncover behavioural patterns in small vertebrates and understand them in relation to social, anthropogenic and climatic factors. I am also interested in developing methods of recording and analysing body-acceleration data and translating them to behavioral models


Specific research interests:

  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Movement ecology 
  • Underground Behavior 
  • Bird migration 
  • Citizen Science



  1. Resheff, Y., H. Bensch, M. Zottl, and S. Rotics. 2022. Correcting a bias in the computation of behavioral time budgets that are based on supervised learning. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 13:1488-1496 
  2. Standfuß, I., C. Geiß, R. Nathan, S. Rotics, M. Scacco, G. Kerr, and H. Taubenböck. 2022. Time-series enable the characterization of small-scale vegetation dynamics that influence fine-scale animal behavior. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, Early View
  3. Carlson, B. S., S. Rotics, R. Nathan, M. Wikelski, and W. Jetz. 2021. Individual environmental niches in mobile organisms. Nature Communications 12
  4. Granweiler, J., J. Thorley, and S. Rotics. 2021. Sparring dynamics and individual laterality in male South African giraffes. Ethology 127:651-660
  5. Turjeman, S., U. Eggers, S. Rotics, W. Fiedler, A. Centeno-Cuadros, M. Kaatz, D. Zurell, F. Jeltsch, M. Wikelski, and R. Nathan. 2021. Estimating nest-switching in free-ranging wild birds: an assessment of the most common methodologies, illustrated in the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia).
    IBIS 163:1110-1119
  6. Rotics, S. and T. Clutton-Brock. 2021. Group size increases inequality in cooperative behaviour. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 288
  7. Rotics, S., S. F. Turjeman, M. Kaatz, D. Zurell, M. Wikelski, N. Sapir, W. Fiedler, U. Eggers, Y. S. Resheff, F. Jeltsch, and R. Nathan. 2021. Early-life behavior predicts first-year survival in a long-distance avian migrant. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 288
  8. Fandos, G., S. Rotics, N. Sapir, W. Fiedler, M. Kaatz, M. Wikelski, R. Nathan, and D. Zurell. 2020. Seasonal niche tracking of climate emerges at the population level in a migratory bird. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 287
  9. Standfuß, I., C. Geiß, R. Nathan, S. Rotics, S. Dech, and H. Taubenböck. 2020. Stability characterization of the response of white storks’ foraging behavior to vegetation dynamics retrieved from Landsat time series. IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS)
    2020, Virtual Symposium
  10. Becciu, P., S. Rotics, N. Horvitz, M. Kaatz, W. Fiedler, D. Zurell, A. Flack, F. Jeltsch, M. Wikelski, R. Nathan, N. Sapir, Nir. 2020. Causes and consequences of facultative sea crossing in a soaring migrant. Functional Ecology 34:840-852
  11. Rotics, S., M. Kaatz, S. Turjeman, D. Zurell, M. Wikelski, N. Sapir, U. Eggers, W. Fiedler, F. Jeltsch, and R. Nathan. 2018. Early arrival at breeding grounds: causes, costs and a trade-off with overwintering latitude. Journal of Animal Ecology 87: 1627-1638
  12. Zurell, D., H. von Wehrden, S. Rotics, M. Kaatz, H. Groß, L. Schlag, M. Schäfer, N. Sapir, S. Turjeman, M. Wikelski, R. Nathan, and F. Jeltsch. 2018. Home Range Size and Resource Use of Breeding and Non-breeding White Storks Along a Land Use Gradient. Frontiers in Ecology and 
    Evolution 6
  13. Rotics, S., M. Kaatz, Y. S. Resheff, S. F. Turjeman, D. Zurell, N. Sapir, U. Eggers, A. Flack, W. Fiedler, F. Jeltsch, M. Wikelski, and R. Nathan. 2017. Wintering in Europe instead of Africa enhances juvenile survival in a long-distance migrant. Animal Behaviour 126:79-88
  14. Rotics, S., M. Kaatz, Y. S. Resheff, S. F. Turjeman, D. Zurell, N. Sapir, U. Eggers, A. Flack, W. Fiedler, F. Jeltsch, M. Wikelski, and R. Nathan. 2016. The challenges of the first migration: movement and behaviour of juvenile vs. adult white storks with insights regarding juvenile mortality.
    Journal of Animal Ecology 85:938-947
  15. Turjeman, S. F., A. Centeno-Cuadros, U. Eggers, S. Rotics, J. Blas, W. Fiedler, M. Kaatz, F. Jeltsch, M. Wikelski, and R. Nathan. 2016. Extra-pair paternity in the socially monogamous white stork (Ciconia ciconia) is fairly common and independent of local density. Scientific Reports 6
  16. Resheff, Y. S., S. Rotics, R. Nathan, and D. Weinshall. 2016. Topic modeling of behavioral modes using sensor data. International Journal of Data Science and Analytics 1:51-60
  17. Flack, A., W. Fiedler, J. Blas, I. Pokrovsky, M. Kaatz, M. Mitropolsky, K. Aghababyan, I. Fakriadis, E. Makrigianni, L. Jerzak, H. Azafzaf, C. Feltrup-Azafzaf, S. Rotics, T. M. Mokotjomela, R. Nathan, and M. Wikelski. 2016. Costs of migratory decisions: A comparison across eight white stork populations. Science Advances 2
  18. Zurell, D., U. Eggers, M. Kaatz, S. Rotics, N. Sapir, M. Wikelski, R. Nathan, and F. Jeltsch. 2015. Individual-based modelling of resource competition to predict density-dependent population dynamics: a case study with white storks. Oikos 124:319-330
  19. Resheff, Y. S., S. Rotics, R. Nathan, and D. Weinshall. 2015. Matrix factorization approach to behavioral mode analysis from acceleration data. Proceedings of the 2015 Ieee International Conference on Data Science and Advanced Analytics: 1-6. Ieee, New York
  20. Resheff, Y. S., S. Rotics, R. Harel, O. Spiegel, and R. Nathan. 2014. AcceleRater: a web application for supervised learning of behavioral modes from acceleration measurements. Movement Ecology 2:27
  21. Levy, O., T. Dayan, S. Rotics, and N. Kronfeld-Schor. 2012. Foraging sequence, energy intake and torpor: an individual-based field study of energy balancing in desert golden spiny mice. Ecology Letters 15:1240-1248
  22. Rotics, S., T. Dayan, and N. Kronfeld-Schor. 2011. Effect of artificial night lighting on temporally partitioned spiny mice. Journal of Mammalogy 92:159-168
  23. Rotics, S., Dayan, T., Levy, O., and Kronfeld-Schor, N. 2011. Light masking in the field: an experiment with nocturnal and diurnal spiny mice under semi-natural field conditions. Chronobiology International 28:70-75
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