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Report on the 11th Graduate Student Meeting of the Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft and the Ethologische Gesellschaft e.V.
"Behaviour in a changing world", 12. - 14. April 2013
Department of Behavioural Biology, Münster

The 11th graduate student meeting of the Ethologische Gesellschaft and the Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft e.V. took place in Münster between April 12 and 14, 2013. This year's topic was "Behaviour in a changing world" and the 14 participants came from diverse institutions in Germany, Switzerland, and Mexico to present and discuss their current work.

meeting 2013

The participants were allowed to give an insight into their results of Master or PhD studies, as well as future research plans, and new methods in behavioural biology, covering a great variety of topics ranging from behavioural genetics to behavioural endocrinology and study systems from rodents to bats to birds. These talks were held in the form of either a 15 minute oral presentation or a 5 minute introducing poster talk followed by a discussion. At this point, students were given the opportunity to practise themselves in chairing a session.In addition, two plenary lectures were given by experts in cell biology and physiology, and in behavioural ecology and ecophysiology, who presented recent developments in their fields.

The first lecture, presented by Prof. Dr. Robyn Hudson, gave an interesting introduction into the contribution of siblings to the development of individual differences in mammalian physiology and behaviour. The second lecture was held by Prof. Dr. Petra Quillfeldt, who presented her data about her research on wild populations of seabirds and oceanic climate. Both lectures offered a great opportunity for researchers and students to discuss and interact directly with scientific experts in a comfortable atmosphere. That way, students could learn new methods and got interesting insights into various fields of behavioural biology and were thus provided with useful tools for their own future scientific research.

The participants were also given the chance to attend a tour through the European bird sanctuary "Rieselfelder Münster" guided by Dipl.-Lök Julia Baumeister. This area of wetlands was formerly used to treat industrial waste waters but is now managed for wildlife, creating a habitat of international importance, since the Rieselfelder host a large variety of birds throughout the year. The excursion provided interesting information about the background of the sanctuary and its plants and birds, and was a nice contrast to the lectures. Furthermore, students had the chance to informally discuss broader scientific questions and career perspectives. This interactive exchange was also possible during coffee brakes over drinks and snacks as well as during a get-together dinner organized on the second evening of the workshop, which was kindly supported by the two societies.

This successful meeting in a relaxed atmosphere was an excellent opportunity for exchanging ideas and networking between both students and institutions. Since the graduate student meetings of the Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft and the Ethologische Gesellschaft promote students in zoological and ethological research, they also contribute to the success of German future research in behavioural biology.

Dr. Lars Lewejohann
Department of Behavioural Biology
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Badestrasse 13
D-48149 Münster
Tel.: +49 (0) 251 832 3884
Fax: +49 (0) 251 832 3896

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