Klaus Immelmann founded the Department of Animal Behaviour at the University of Bielefeld and put the young university firmly on the international map of animal behaviour. Unique in Germany at its time, the new department focussed on the ontogeny of animal behaviour. His model animal was the zebra finch and the central research theme was sexual imprinting. He organized both the International Ethological Congress (1977) as well as a year-long research theme at the centre for interdisciplinary research (ZIF), both of which promoted Bielefeld as a centre for animal behaviour research nationally as well as internationally.

To honour the legacy of the first Professor of Animal Behaviour at the University of Bielefeld, Klaus Immelmann (1935-1987), the Immelmann-Lecture was created in 2001 with generous financial help of the Westfälisch-Lippische Universitätsgesellschaft. In November each year, a world-leading scientist is invited to deliver the lecture. Previous speakers of the Immelmann-Lecture include:


2001: Prof. Nick Davies, University of Cambridge

2002: Prof. Eberhard Gwinner, Max-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie, Seewiesen

2003: Prof. Nicola Clayton, University of Cambridge

2004: No lecture

2005: Prof. Michael Tomasello, Max-Planck-Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropologie, Leipzig

2006: Prof. Stephen Nowicki, Duke University

2007: Prof. Peter & Rosemary Grant, Princeton University

2008: Prof. Manfred Gahr, Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie, Seewiesen

2009: Prof. Franjo Weissing, Universität Groningen

2010: Prof. Tim Clutton-Brock, University of Cambridge

2011: Prof. Martin Wikelski, Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie, Radolfzell

2012: Prof. Mike Ryan, University of Texas at Austin

2013: Dr. Jane Goodall, Jane Goodall Institute

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