I am interested in individual variation and how this contributes to diversity in behaviour and ecology. This is first a fundamental question addressed through basic science but I’m keen to apply the outcome of these studies to inform and improve conservation efforts and management.
Individual differences during ontogeny may have immediate as well as long-term effects on fitness and survival. For my PhD, I am investigating the development and behaviour of ruff Calidris pugnax chicks raised in captivity. Ruffs are characterized by an unusual diversity in mating strategies. They feature three morphs (Independents,
Faeders, Satellites) that are most prominently developed in breeding males. The
morphs differ in aggression and courtship behaviour and are fully genetically
determined by an inversion supergene located on an autosome. This means that
females and chicks are also assigned to morphs although little is known about how
the supergene variants modulate their behaviour and fitness. I will investigate
morph and individual differences in size and feather development and their effect
on long-term fitness. Further I will assess the variation in precocious sexual
behaviour and classic personality traits in a controlled experimental setup.
2021 – Present: PhD student at Max
Planck Insititute for Ornithology, Seewiesen (MPIO Seewiesen).
“Morph- und individual variation in development and behaviour in ruffs”. Research
Group Behavioural Genetics and Evolutionary Ecology.
Advisor: Dr. Clemens Küpper.
Funded by a DBU Scholarship, https://www.dbu.de/stipendien_promotion
2017 – 2020: Master's
student at Munich Graduate School for Evolution, Ecology and Systematics.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich & MPIO Seewiesen
Master’s thesis on camouflage effects of fringed neoptile feathers in snowy
plover (Charadrius nivosus) chicks.
Research Group Behavioural Genetics and Evolutionary Ecology.
Supervisor: Dr. Clemens Küpper
2014 – 2017:
Bachelor of Science in Biology, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich Bachelor thesis:
“Variation in Birdsong and Aggression in Great Tits Parus major”,Research Group
of Behavioural Ecology, Prof. Niels Dingemanse