Gladys Kung`u

Gladys Kung´u

PhD student

Hellbrunnerstrasse 34, 5020 Salzburg

Tel.: +43(0)662 80445604


Room: D-2.037


Research interest

  • Behavioral biology of cooperative breeders
  • Effects of home range habitat quality on behavior, stress hormone levels, and ultimately the reproductive success of birds
  • Species distribution modelling
  • Application of GIS and remote sensing in defining habitat structure within highly disturbed species home ranges

Curriculum Vitae
Education and training 

  • from 04/2021 on: University of Salzburg, Austria; Doctoral Studies (PhD) at the Faculty of Natural Sciences
  • 09/2017-06/2020: University of Chinese Academy of Sciences – Kunming Institute of Zoology (China); Master of Natural Sciences in Zoology. Thesis title: Reconstructing the demographic history of the Kenyan endemic Hindes’ babbler Turdoides hindei using whole genome sequences and ecological niche models
  • 09/2009-12/2013: Kenyatta University (Kenya); Bachelor of Science in Environmental Planning and Management

Work experience

  • 06/2014-08/2017: Project Fellow (Kenya Bird Map Project) – National Museums of Kenya and Nature Kenya. Main responsibilities: coordinating data submission, organizing field bird-mapping excursions, training volunteer birders/mappers, synthesizing scientific data and communicating the impact of the project to the general public.
  • 07/2013-05/2014: Research intern – National Museums of Kenya. Main activities and responsibilities: assisting in biodiversity field research surveys; assisting in weekly bird ringing/banding within Nairobi
  • 05-09/2012: Student trainee – Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen). Main responsibilities: Preparing environmental management plans; Carrying out environmental audits and preparing audit reports.

Grants and awards 

  • 2020: Awarded a four-year Alliance of International Science Organizations (ANSO) scholarship to pursue a PhD at the University of Chinese Academy of Science (UCAS), Beijing, China. I declined this scholarship in favor of a research position funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), under Dr. Beate Apfelbeck, University of Salzburg.

  • 2017: Awarded CAS “The Belt and Road” Masters Fellowship Program to pursue a Master’s degree at the University of Chinese Academy of Science

  • 2017: Won a research grant to assess the occurrence and status of the Hinde’s Babbler Turdoides Hindei population in the northern suburbs of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area. Grant Amount:  £1,823. Source of funding: African Bird Club

  • 2014: Awarded a search grant to survey the population status and distribution of Maccoa Duck Oxyura maccoa in Kenya’s Rift Valley and Central wetlands. Grant Amount:  £1,804. Source of funding: African Bird Club.  

Language skills

  • English
  • Kiswahili
  • Chinese (basic user)  


Apfelbeck B, Cousseau L, Kung’u GN, Canoine V, Heiskanen J, Korir DK, Lala F, Pellikka P, Githiru M, Lens L (2024) Cooperative breeding alters physiological and behavioral responses to habitat fragmentation. iScience 27(1).

Kung’u GN, Cousseau L, Githiru M, Habel JC, Kinyanjui M, Matheka K, Schmitt CB, Seifert T, Teucher M, Lens L, Apfelbeck B (2023) Anthropogenic activities affect forest structure and arthropod abundance in a Kenyan biodiversity hotspot. Biodiversity and Conservation 32: 3255–3282.

Fei W, De-Jun K, Peng-Fei S, Jie W, Kung’u G, Guang-Yi L, Xiao-Jun Y (2019) Ongoing Green Peafowl Protection in China. Zoological Research 40: 580-582.

Kung’u G, Jackson CHW (2017) Kenya Bird Map: achievements from January 2014 to December 2016. Biodiversity Observations 30: 1–6.

Kung’u G., Imboma T, Njoroge P (2016) Recent undocumented Kenya records of the Grey-chested Babbler Kakamega poliothorax. Scopus 36: 34-3.