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News

February 2024

A visit to Vilnius

group picture: people from the Parasitology Lab of the Nature Research Center in Lithuania and two researcher of Bielefeld siiting around a big table
© T. Rapp

Two members of the raptor research team have recently been welcomed at the Parasitology Lab of the Nature Research Center in Lithuania. The research group is based in Vilnius and renowned for its work on avian blood parasites. In the course of two exciting weeks the team from Bielefeld was trained in several parasitological methods. This will help the raptor researchers tackle some outstanding questions regarding host-parasite interactions in their study population.

January 2024

Happy new year!

Happy new year - Chimney sweeper and hat
pixabay

Happy New Year to all! May it be a wonderful and healthy year 2024!

Archive

December 2023

Merry Christmas

Birch trees in winter
© Sabine Kraus

We wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas and wonderful moments with your loved ones.

Start the new year safe and sound.

Start of the special module

left: a petri dish with a plexiglass arena and two colourful lids from falcon tubes; right: various colourful objects made of wood
© S. Kraus 202543 Spezialmodul Mechanismen des Verhaltens

Over the next few weeks, the participants of the special module will find out what the objects in the photo have to do with woodlice, zebra finches and buzzards and what they reveal about the mechanisms of behaviour.

November 2023

Fieldwork in the Galapagos

sea lion mother with her pup sleeping
© S. Stöhr

Our PhD-Students Alex and Svenja from the Sea Lion Project are currently conducting their annual fieldwork in the Galapagos during the reproductive period of the sea lions. The daily work includes tracking births, behavioral observations of moms and their pups, collecting samples and deploying dive computers to study foraging behaviour at sea. For a new project this year for the first time they are equipping all the new pups as well as immatures with proximity loggers for a social networking study. Good luck in the field

Joint Graduate Meeting of the Ethological Society and the Behavioural Biology Section of the DZG in Bielefeld

Logo for the graduate meeting: composed of a bat, a dwarf goat and a zebra finch
© Sabine Kraus

A total of 37 participants joined this Graduate Meeting to chat, exchange ideas and engage in discussions. We had a great time and are already looking forward to next year's meeting in Dummerstorf.

Happy Birthday VHF!

first slide of a talk

The VHF has turned 50!
Many former and current members of the VHF came together to celebrate.
The programme of the celebration started with a report by Fritz Trillmich on the history of the VHF. We then had the pleasure of hearing Norbert Sachser give the legendary Immelmann Lecture, followed by Oliver Krüger's report on the future of the VHF. Finally, of course, there was plenty of time for socialising and celebrating.

October 2023

New paper in BMC Zoology

Screenshot of the paper

If you are interested in learning more about how female guinea pigs respond to different rearing temperatures in terms of growth, storage and development, read the article by Fritz and Anja: Shifts in energy allocation and reproduction in response to temperature in a small precocial mammal

 

VHF will turn 50 soon!

drawing of the study species in the behaviuoral biology: a cavy, a mouse, a fire salamander, a sea lion, a zebra finch, a Bengalese finch and a buzzard
© Ulrich Pörschmann

November 1973: Topping-out ceremony for the VHF building - 50 years ago now. A reason to celebrate and to get all alumni together to chat about the last decades in this special building.

Semester start

VHF logo on the left sketches from a sea lion, a buzzard and a zebra finch
© Oliver Krüger

We wish everyone a good start to the new Winter semester 2023/24!

August 2023

Behaviour conference 2023

Logo of the Behaviour conference: a zebra finch in front of the Sparrenburg
© Marc Gilles

A conference week full of inspiring talks, posters, discussions and workshops is coming to an end.

Start of the Behaviour 2023!

Start picture of the youtube video: a collage of picture from the sudy animals and some scientists
© @BielefeldUniversity

It's finally happening! Behaviour 2023 is kicking off and we are looking forward to great talks, posters and discussions.

Check out the video that was shot for the kick-off of this conference.

July 2023

Registration for Graduate Meeting open

social network
pixabay

The Joint Graduate Meeting of the Ethological Society and the Behavioral Biology Section of the DZG will be hosted in Bielefeld this year.

Take the opportunity to exchange with peers and build a network. For registration visit our website.

 

Successful field season

buzzard chick in the hand of scientists
© Tim Rapp

2023 was a quite outstanding year for the raptor research team at the Department of Animal Behaviour. In almost 30 years of monitoring, the number of breeding attempts has never been higher, while the number of sampled buzzard nestlings (476) matched the previous record. The team also gathered extensive footage through 15 nest cameras and equipped 30 birds with GPS-GSM transmitters!

June 2023

New paper published

two bussards in the nest with MHC and DNA symbol next to it
© Nayden Charakov

Check out new and interesting details of the major histocompatibility complex in buzzards by reading our buzzard team's paper: High functional allelic diversity and copy number in both MHC classes in the common buzzard

Flying into the new aviaries

zebra finches on a branch
© Bielefeld University, Foto: Sarah Jonek

Finally, the new aviaries are filled with singing and chirping - our zebra finches moved into their new aviaries.

Stay up to date with the current status of the construction plans in the blog

Paper published in nature

picture of Professor Dr Joseph Hoffman
© Bielefeld University

Together with an interdisciplinary team, Joseph Hoffman has looked at germline mutation rates in different vertebrate species to gain broader insights into the evolution of mutations and thus the genomes in vertebrates.

In an interview, Joe briefly reports what the study was about.

The entire study: Evolution of the germline mutation rate across vertebrates

Individualisation Fellowships for Postdocs

The interdisciplinary collaborative project „Individualisation in Changing Environments“ (InChangE) currently offers two Postdoc Fellowships at Bielefeld University. The disciplines represented in InChangE are biology, philosophy, sociology, economics, psychology, geoinformatics, psychiatry and health sciences.

The fellowships will provide the successful candidates the opportunity to further develop their independent research in the field of individualisation science and to prepare their application for an individual research grant.

Application deadline: 14 June 2023

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact: inchange_koordination@uni-bielefeld.de

April 2023

Congratulations on the PhD!

Group of people celebrating Tony´s successful defence
© Marc Gilles

On April 20, Tony Rinaud successfully defended his doctoral thesis on blood parasites in the common buzzard. Many congratulations Tony!

For more information about Tony's research, check out his publications.

 

 

March 2023

Great survival

Svenja Stöhr next to a sea lion
© Svenja Stöhr

Svenja and her colleagues from the Sea Lion Project just returned from their 1-month field season in the Galapagos Islands. They were excited to see that all the pups born during the previous field season had survived and were now big enough to receive individual tags which will make it possible to track the animals throughout their entire life. Now it is time to head back to the lab to analyse the collected samples and data.

Student helpers wanted

Job announcement HiWi job for the Bussard project

For the project on filming, sampling and tagging birds of prey (buzzards, red kites, goshawks, eagle owls), we are looking for motivated student assistants from mid-March who enjoy spending time in nature and have a driving licence.

  • Up to 19 h/week, initially for 4 months.
  • Combination with project/BSc/MSc work possible

Tasks:

  • Nest mapping
  • Checks of nest cameras
  • Assistance with bird ringing

If you are interested, please contact:
Dr Nayden Chakarov
Office: VHF-373
E-mail: nayden.chakarov@uni-bielefeld.de
Phone: 0521 106 2620

February 2023

Registration and Abstract Submission Open!

Logo Behaviour Tagung 2023 in Bielefeld
© Marc Gilles


The abstract submission and congress registration for Behaviour 2023 is open!

Abstract submission closes April 30th.
You can benefit from these Early-Bird fees until April 30th! From May 1st, congress registration fees will increase.
 
If you would like to host a workshop during the congress, you can now submit your workshop proposal!
Workshop topics can be anything behaviour-related; from working with specific behaviour-scoring software to improving reproducible coding.

Mehrere studentische Hilfskräfte gesucht/ Several student assistants needed

Logo Behaviour Tagung 2023 in Bielefeld
© Marc Gilles

Wir suchen helfende Hände für die Logistik, Planung und bei der technischen Umsetzung unserer großen internationalen Behaviour Tagung. Vertragsbeginn: idealerweise 1.5.2023

Bei Interesse bitte melden bei:

Nadine Schubert
nadine.schubert@uni-bielefeld.de
0521 106 2840

Mehr Informationen zur Tagung gibt es auf der Tagungswebsite.

Aushange-Hiwi-Jobs-Behaviour-2023.pdf


We are looking for helping hands for the logistics, planning and technical implementation of our large international Behaviour Conference. Start of contract: ideally 1.5.2023

If you are interested, please contact:

Nadine Schubert
nadine.schubert@uni-bielefeld.de
0521 106 2840

More information about the conference is available on the conference website.

Aushange-Hiwi-Jobs-Behaviour-2023.pdf

PhD position in Raptor / Parasite Ecology

Buzzard chick
Buzzard chick © Nayden Charakov

Interested in studying birds of prey? Become part of a long-term project on birds of prey with a unique long-term dataset.
It is your chance for a multi-faceted PhD position that combines field and lab work and provides the opportunity to realise your own scientific projects.

Submission deadline is 01.03.2023

For more information, please check: Raptors-PhD-position-Bielefeld_0223.pdf

 

 

January 2023

Welcome Bernice!

Bernice, new member of the group

Bernice Sepers joined the Hoffman Lab. She received the Bielefeld Young Researchers’ Fund to develop a project on fur seal epigenetics.

We wish you many successes and good luck with your project, Bernice!

Open position - Scientific Coordinator NC3 & MGSE

NC3 logo

The Collaborative Research Center Transregio 212 (NC3) and the Institute of Evolution and Biodiversity in the Faculty of Biology at the University of Münster (WWU) are seeking to fill the position of a Scientific Coordinator.

The deadline for applications is 11.02.2023.

For more information check out the following websites:

NC3

MGSE

 

Stellenausschreibung_Koordination_NC3_MGSE.pdf

New paper in Animal Behaviour!

Blue tit on nist box
blue tit © Stephen Salazar

Stephen Salazar along with Kasper Hlebowicz, Jan Komdeur and Peter Korsten tested a commonly held expectation about behavioural flexibility in the wild. Read in their paper what they found out in blue tits: Repeatable parental risk taking across manipulated levels of predation threat: no individual variation in plasticity

Biological Reviews paper out!

wood grouse
wood grouse © Oliver Krüger

Do you want to learn more about the historical emergence of the sex role concept, recent criticisms & rebuttals as well as theoretical links to adult sex ratio and causes & consequences of biased adult sex ratio? Then check out this review written by Oliver and colleagues: Sex roles and sex ratios in animals

PhD thesis handed in!

cover of thesis with bussard chick
© Tony Rinaud

Tony handed in his PhD thesis about "Friends or foes? Blood parasite costs and defence abilities in young raptor hosts". Congratulations!

Happy new year

Happy new year - Chimney sweeper and hat
pixabay

Happy New Year to all! May it be a wonderful and healthy year!

December 2022

Merry Christmas

Birch trees in winter
© Sabine Kraus

We wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas and wonderful moments with your loved ones.

Start the new year safe and sound.

Congratulations Navina on your paper!

zebra finches on a branch
zebra finches © Navina Lilie

Curious about how male zebra finches adjust their behaviour to the risk of sperm competition? Read about it in Navina's paper: Male social niche conformance? Effects of manipulated opportunity for extra-pair mating on behavior and hormones of male zebra finches

Section speaker

DZG news

Sabine Kraus, together with Ahana Fernandez and Christian Nawroth, is now new section speaker for behavioural biology in the DZG (German Zoological Society).

If you want to know more about the DZG, have a look at their website.

November 2022

Walter Benjamin fellowship

Rebecca in the field
© Rebecca Nagel

Rebecca Nagel has been awarded a Walter Benjamin fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG) for a period of 2 years. Come January 2022, she will be carrying out research at the University of St. Andrews in the UK in collaboration with Dr. Michael Morrissey. She plans to pair newly collected micro-meteorological data with data from the long-term research project of wild Soay sheep to test the hypothesis that incorporating fine-scale, individual-based environmental conditions into multivariate trait-fitness regression models will produce more robust predictions of selection.
Congratulations, Rebecca, and all the best!

Far from civilisation

sea lion mum with her pup
sea lion © Svenja Stöhr

Our Galapagos team has been in the field since the beginning of October and is now halfway through. They stay for the peak of the breeding season until mid-December. The 4-member field team, which also includes Alexandra Childs and Svenja Stöhr, camps on an uninhabited, remote island with a sea lion colony.
Their daily work consists of tracking births, collecting genetic, hormonal and stable isotope samples, deploying dive computers to study feeding behaviour, studying juvenile behaviour through video observations, conducting personality tests such as approach tests and tests with new objects,...
We wish you continued success in your field season!

October 2022

New paper in Ethology!

Graphic: Cavies under spring or autumn conditions
Wiley Online Library, CC BY-NC 4.0

Anja and Fritz investigated behavioural developmental phenotypic plasticity of juvenile cavies in response to photoperiod. Cavies are highly precocial and reproduce multiple times within a year. This makes them an ideal study species to determine whether such adjustments occur and are adaptive with respect to pace-of-life syndrome (POL).

Curious what they found out? Check out their paper Photoperiod influences the development and the expression of personality traits and social behaviour in wild cavies (Cavia aperea)

Individualisation Fellowships for Postdocs

Advertisement fellowship
© Bielefeld University

The interdisciplinary collaborative project „Individualisation in Changing Environments“ (InChangE) is currently offering a total of 5 Postdoc Fellowships (full-term, salary level TV-L E14) for 18 months at the Universities of Bielefeld and Münster. The disciplines represented in InChangE are biology, philosophy, sociology, economics, psychology, geoinformatics, psychiatry and health sciences.

The fellowships will provide the successful candidates the opportunity to further develop their independent research in the field of individualisation science and to prepare their application for an individual research grant.

Application deadline: 30 November 2022

More details: http://fellowships.jice.info

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact: inchange_koordination@uni-bielefeld.de

PhD track position available!

bussards in the nest
© Nayden Charakov

Become part of a long-term project on birds of prey with a unique long-term dataset.
In addition to seasonal field work, you have the opportunity to realise your own scientific projects using the cutting-edge technology.
Interested? You can find more information on our website and in the advertisement below.

 

PhD position Chakarov

Welcome to the new winter semester

pile of books
pixabay

The new semester has started again as an on-campus semester. We wish everyone a good start and a successful and stimulating semester!

September 2022

Master thesis available

zebra finch pair
© Sabine Kraus

For a project to study whether birds have an instinctive fear of snakes, we are looking for a highly motivated and reliable Master student who enjoys working with zebra finches.

A FELASA certificate is an advantage.

The questions to be explored in this thesis are:

  • Do zebra finches that have never seen a snake before recognize it as potential threat?
  • Do zebra finches have a heritable visual template that allow them to recognize objects?

The Department of Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Animal Behaviour are collaborating in this project. If you are interested and want to be part of this collaboration, please contact

 

Dr. David Kikuchi

david.kikuchi@uni-bielefeld.de

Dr. Sabine Kraus

sabine.kraus@uni-bielefeld.de

August 2022

Students wanted

Offer: Student project to investigate the role of immune genes and microbes on body odour and its role in social communication in banded mongooses
© Nadine Schubert

June 2022

Congratulations on the PhD!

Jonas sitting in a tent working in the company of a Galápagos sea lion
Jonas during field work on Camaño © Jonas Schwarz

Very well done! Congratulations to Jonas Schwarz for passing his doctoral thesis on How to behave in a changing world - Development and consequences of stable behavioural differences in the Galápagos sea lion.

If you want to know more about Jonas' research, check out his publications.

Preprint published on parasite costs in early life of hosts

Buzzard chick
Buzzard chick © Tony Rinaud

Tony´s current PhD project aims to investigate avian malaria infection consequences in juveniles of a widely spread raptor, the common buzzard (Buteo buteo). He is interested in evaluating physiological and transcriptional changes due to various intensities of parasitic infections and how hosts and parasites adjust their coping strategies during this arms-race. His new preprint "Only rare, acute blood parasite infections induce physiological costs in avian offspring" is available here: https://ecoevorxiv.org/4tcqu/

More work on host and parasite transcription in this raptor-malaria interaction soon to come!

May 2022

Three months in Uganda

Banded Mongoose
Banded Mongoose © Nadine Schubert

Corona has put many obstacles in her way, but finally, Nadine was able to fly to Uganda to carry out her long-planned behavioural experiments with the banded mongoose. Good luck and have a great time in Mweya in the Queen Elizabeth National Park!

If you want to learn more about the Banded Mongoose Research Project, visit this website.

 

 

 

April 2022

20. Nachtansichten - 20th Night Views

Meet the Scientists at the namu
Meet the Scientists © Antje Herde

It's the night of museums, galleries and churches.
On 30 April from 6 pm to 1 am, many different cultural venues in Bielefeld will open their doors. The NC3 exhibition "Tierisch individuell" will also be part of it!

18.00 – 23.00 Meet the Scientists

 

You can buy tickets in advance.

Links: Namu Program Bielefeld Marketing

 

Congratulations Lisa on your paper!

Example pictures for the plumage score
Examples of the plumage score © Lisa Kalnins

Lisa developed a novel plumage score – a simple, reliable, and non-invasive way to estimate an important indicator of captive Zebra Finches' well-being. If you want to try it out yourself, take a look at Plumage and Fat Condition Scores as Well-Being Assessment Indicators in a Small Passerine Bird

Student project available!

Antarctic fur seal
© Rebecca Nagel

The immune system protects individuals against pathogens and parasites, but investing into immunity is costly! Energy expenditure on immunity can vary depending on individual characteristics and environmental conditions, such as age and population density. We want to figure out what factors are most important for Antarctic fur seals. Do do this, we have blood smears from seal pups and mothers, and we want to count the number and type of white blood cells. This will also tell us something about the types of infections and diseases Antarctic fur seals are exposed to.

If you are interested in helping with this project (both bachelor and master students are welcome) or would like to find out more, please get in touch with Rebecca Nagel (rebecca.nagel@uni-bielefeld.de) or Joe Hoffman (joseph.hoffman@uni-bielefeld.de). We look forward to hearing from you!

March 2022

New paper published!

Collage of Journal covers
© Universität Bielefeld

Get detailed insights into the individualization of endocrine phenotypes and their genetic and environmental drivers in the Antarctic fur seal.

Low heritability and high phenotypic plasticity of salivary cortisol in response to environmental heterogeneity in a wild pinniped

Wie klingen eigentlich die Polarmeere?

Arctic Ocean
© Ramona Mattmüller

Our PhD student Ramona Mattmüller is going to talk about Polar Ocean Soundscapes at the Youtube Channel "Wissenschaft fürs Wohnzimmer".

 

Wie klingen eigentlich die Polarmeere?

31.03.2022; 08:15 pm

The talk will be in German.

 

New paper published!

Collage of Journal covers
© Universität Bielefeld

Do you want to know more about individual foraging strategies in Galápagos sea lions? Take a look at what Jonas and his Co-authors found out here.

New paper published!

Collage of Journal covers
© Universität Bielefeld

"Demographic Reconstruction of Antarctic Fur Seals Supports the Krill Surplus Hypothesis" read more here

Visit the NC3 exhibition

group of researchers
© Universität Bielefeld/Maximilian Weihs

Come and visit the NC3 exhibition "Tierisch individuell" at the namu.

Discover the research on animals that choose, conform and construct their individual niches!

The opening of the exhibition will take place on 13.03.2022 from 10-17h. Entrance is free!

The exhibition will be on view at the namu from 13 March to 11 September 2022.

February 2022

New paper published!

Collage of Journal covers
© Universität Bielefeld

Congratulations to Marc on his new paper on Olfactory camouflage and communication in birds.

If you would like to dive deeper into the topic of birds' olfaction and variation in preen oil composition, take a look at his paper.

PhD position available in the Hoffman Lab!

porcini mushroom
© Joe Hoffman

3 year PhD position

Are you interested in evolutionary genomics and want to combine fieldwork with lab-based bioinformatic analysis of next generation sequencing data? Well then, this opportunity to work on porcini mushrooms might be just the perfect fit.
Deadline: 1st March 2022

For more information about the lab and the positions, visit the website.

PostDoc position available in the Hoffman Lab!

Logo of the Antarctic fur seal project
© Bielefeld University

4 year PostDoc position

You are interested in population genetics and have experience with RAD sequencing and similar approaches? Take the opportunity to work on the genomics and epigenetics of Antarctic fur seals.
Deadline: 25th February 2022

 

For more information about the lab and the positions, visit the website.


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