Emmi Schlicht


Main Focus

I am studying mating systems. In animals such as birds, this refers to the causes and consequences of behaviour that often starts with mate choice and may culminate in extensive parental care. In these traits, species often display typical patterns, linking mating behaviour to social structure and sex roles. I am interested in the evolutionary stability of these interspecific patterns.
Alongside characteristic variation between species, there is also huge diversity in mating behaviour among individuals of the same species. In birds, this is perhaps most obvious in extra-pair behaviour: birds that engage in mating behaviour with birds other than their social mate(s). Using free-living blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) as model species, my work tries to understand these mating decisions by investigating correlations with parameters affecting survival, reproduction, or fitness.

I am also studying consequences of extra-pair fertilizations for complete populations, for instance, changes in the strength of sexual selection. Extra-pair parentage thus stands at the junction of individual mating behaviour and a species’ mating systems. My ultimate aim is to gain a better understanding of this link, where species-specific patterns arise from the combined behaviour of individuals.

Curriculum Vitae

During my studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, I have received comprehensive training in biology with an emphasis on behaviour, ecology and evolution. Since 2008, I am scientific assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, now Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence.

For more information, please visit my personal website.
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