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  • DPHIL in Zoology, University of oxford (UK), Oct 2010- Jan 2015
  • BSc in Ecology, University of Zagreb (Croatia), 2003-2008
  • V Gimnazija Highschool (Croatia), 1999-2003
  • Zlatko Balokovic music school, Major in piano (primary and high school, altogether 6+4 years)

Research Areas

Specific research interests


1) SPI-Birds network & database,

SPI-Birds is among the first to connect and standardize data that belong to long-tail of science. Under my lead, in less than 2 years we convinced over 120 researchers across the world to send us their data, which we standardize. Project got several awards and inspired the Dutch science funder (NWO) to set up a new funding route (Open Science Fund). 16 submitted scientific proposals and 2 funded ones (by German DGF, French ANR, where I'm a collaborator) are based on the use of data hosted at SPI-Birds. 

2) Long-term individual data on birds as a source of biodiversity information, coming soon

3) Pair-bonds beyond breeding season – a new approach to understanding divorce and fidelity using the power of Open Data; /

The project has established a novel approach to understand pair-bonding. The approach has major implications for how we study ecological and evolutionary processes as pair-bonds are essential for reproduction in most animals. Project resulted in 6 publications, see the website. 

4) Open Science & Evidence synthesis in Ecology

Awards and Achievements

My undergrad and PhD were fully funded by scholarships (~ 100 000 EUR sum)

After my PhD I have personally obtained ~ 275 000 EUR:

  • NLBIF grants (Netherlands Biodiversity Information Facility), 30 000 EUR (2022-2023)
  • VENI research fellowship, 250 000 EUR by NWO, (2018-2021)
  • Workshop funding, 25 000 EUR by Lorentz Center, Netherlands
  • Dutch Data Prize for SPI-Birds project (2020) – 5 000 EUR
  • Open Science Use Case Award (2020) for SPI-Birds initiative
  • NWO Cooperation and Exchange / Scientific Meetings Grant for organizing 2 day symposium & workshops on Open Science in Ecology (2017) – 10 000 EUR
  • RDA EU Early Career support Programme for the RDA 9th Plenary (2017)
  • Conference travel grant, Welcome Trust, to attend #scidata16 (2016)


  • Cognitive Sciences MSc, University of Rijeka (2022-)
  • Life History course, MSc,  Wageningen University, Netherlands (2021-2022)
  • Quantitative conservation ecology, MSc, Radboud University  Nijmegen, Netherlands (2019-2020)
  • Quantitative methods (College Tutor), Undergrad in Biology, St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford (2010-2015)
  • Introduction to Ornithology, Oxford University Dept. for Continuing Education (2013-2015)
  • Vertebrate Zoology & Animal Behaviour, Oxford Study Abroad Program (2013-2015)
  • Science Communication, Oxford Sparks (2015)

Membership in professional associations / societies

Roles on Boards & memberships

1. SPI-Birds Network & Database, Executive director (

2. Journal of Animal Ecology, Associate Editor

3. Society for Open, Reliable, and Transparent Ecology and Evolutionary biology (SORTEE), Booard of Directors (

4. Honorary fellow at NIOO-KNAW (2022-ongoing)

5. Development of the National Software Management plan, the Netherlands (2022), Sounding Board

6. FAIRsFAIR EU project ( for Fostering Fair Data Practices in Europe, Advisory Board & Champion

7.  Open Knowledge Maps, Scientific advisor

8.  Go Fair Implementation Network

9.  European Society for Evolutionary Biology

10. British Ecological Society

11.  Research Data Alliance Europe

12.  UNESCO Open science

13. Co-chair of Education Committee, SORTEE

14. Co-chair of Awards Committee, SORTEE

I act as a reviewer within areas of Open Science, Evolution, Ecology, and meta-analysis, and have reviewed close to 200 papers from over 30 journals (e.g. Nature, Ecology Letters, PLOS Biology, Nature Ecology and Evolution, eLife, Science Advances, Methods in Ecology and Evolution).

Selection committees

1. Dataworks! Prize of the National Institute of Health and FASEB (USA), 2022

2. Assessment committee of the Open science fund, NWO, 2020/2021 round

3. Reviewer for National Science Centre, Poland (OPUS-23), 2022

4. Reviewer for National Research, Development and Innovation Office, Hungary (the NRDI Office, the main organization in Hungary providing funds for R&D, including basic (discovery) research)

5. Review committee, CUC2022, 2021/2022


  • Culina A. (2020): How I managed my work and personal life as a sole parent during the pandemic, Nature. doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-02329-x
  • Culina A. (2018): Navigating the Open Data landscape in Ecology and Evolution – lets make it work. Nature Ecology & Evolution Community: Behind the paper.
  • Culina A. (2018): How I opened up towards Open Science. Springer Nature: Data Dialogues.
  • Culina A. (2018): Open Science and the long-tail of scientists work: Let’s bridge the gap. ZWB


Webcast and videos (selected)


In media (selected)

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