Dr. Giovanni Spezie

Verhaltensgenetik und Evolutionäre Ökologie
+49 8157 932 424


My research interests revolve around the fascinating world of elaborate courtship displays, with a focus on the interplay between learning, cognition and sexual selection. Specifically, I am interested in exploring the role that behavioural plasticity and social learning play in the development and expression of sexual signaling. During my PhD, I worked on bowerbird courtship on the field, with the aim of examining whether same-sex social interactions may guide the development of visual courtship components in male spotted bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchus maculatus).
In addition, I am passionate about investigating the motor components of courtship behaviour, and developing quantitative methodologies to better understand and measure these complex behaviours. By delving deeper into these topics, I hope to shed light on the ways in which animals learn and/or adjust their courtship behaviour in response to their (social) environment.
During this Fellowship, I aim to investigate the role of the social environment in the expression of behavioural phenotypes in ruffs (Calidris pungax) and spotted bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchus maculatus), two species that exhibit alternative reproductive tactics.


1. 2024 – present: FWF-funded postdoc at the Max Plank Institute for Biological Intelligence (Seewiesen, Germany) and at the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology (University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna), Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship
2. April – July 2023: Postdoctoral scholarship at the Max Plank Institute for Biological Intelligence (Seewiesen, Germany)
3. 2017 - 2022: PhD position – Doctoral Program: DK Cognition and Communication; Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, Department of Interdisciplinary Life Sciences, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Austria)
4. 2014 - 2017: Master of Science in Evolution of Animal and Human Behaviour:  University of Turin (Italy) - International joint title with the University of the Comoros
5. 2011 - 2014: Bachelor of Biological Sciences: University of Bologna (Italy)
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