Ruff (Philomachus pugnax): Satellite male. Image: Clemens Küpper

Behavioural Genetics and Evolutionary Ecology

One of the most fascinating things about biology is the incredible variation among organisms in their appearances and behaviours. Everything seems possible: for every rule there is usually an exception but ‘everything makes sense in the light of evolution’.

Much of the natural variation and diversity is already harboured within a single species. Why are there different strategies that seemingly address the same problems and needs? How can these strategies co-exist next to each other? These are the main research questions of our group. Our studies focus on the social behaviours associated with mating and parental care in birds.

Unraveling the natural history of organisms is one of the first things to study if one strives to understand how biological diversity has arisen and is maintained. Observation and learning more about their basic biology (ecology, genetics, physiology and behaviour) is the key requirement for any meaningful animal research. We combine observational data collected in natural populations with experiments to understand the evolution and maintenance of social behaviour.

For details on our current projects please click here. If you are a prospective PhD student or postdoc interested in working with us, check out our project pages. Any opportunities will be posted there.

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