Leonie Baier

Guest Scientist
Animal Communication and Urban Ecology
08157 932 419

Main Focus

Leonie’s research interests lie in neuroethology and sensory ecology: How does the way that organisms perceive their environment influence their behavior and how does their behavior shape their perception? She studies these questions in bats, a very successful clade of mammals. With over 1200 species they inhabit almost every corner of the world, and every imaginable food source. The unique combination of flight and echolocation made it possible for them to exploit the lush ecological niche that is the night’s skies. Living their lives in darkness, bats have switched vision with echolocation as their main remote sense. Leonie wants to understand this immense reshaping of their sensory world and find answers to the question to what extent vision can even be replaced by a sensory system that originally evolved to complement it. Her largest contribution to her field is establishing state-of-the-art, dynamic virtual-realities for classic psychophysical studies in echolocating bats. She has used these techniques to address the neurophysiological aspects of what Niko Tinbergen called “Physiology of Behaviour” and what is now known as the field of neuroethology. Using additional cognitive and sensory ecology methods, she now aims to quantify biosonar dynamics as a function of natural behaviour and habitats to gain a clear assessment of how a wild animal perceptually organizes complex and rapidly changing sensory scenes.

Curriculum Vitae

2022-2024 guest researcher, MPI for Biological Intelligence, Seewiesen, Germany
2-2024 Marie Curie fellow, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
2-2024 research fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
2 Alexander von Humboldt fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
2020-2021 guest researcher, MPI for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany
2019-2020 post-doctoral researcher, Technical University, Munich, Germany
2019 post-doctoral researcher, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
2014-2019 IMPRS graduate student, MPI for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany
2014-2018 PhD student, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
2006-2013 technical assistant, Sensory Ecology Group, MPI for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany
2006 Diploma in Biology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany

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