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  • Behaviour 2023

    14.-20. August 2023 | Bielefeld, Germany

    Behaviour 2023 logo
    © Marc Gilles


1. Measuring cognition in fishes: identifying methodological challenges and proposing solutions

Primary organiser

Nicholas Jones


Daphne Cortese

Cait Newport

We would like to run a workshop which will focus on specific aspects of experimental design which can impact studies of fish cognition. Design challenges and modifications to behavioral assays are infrequently published, and there is a lack of empirical studies that quantify how different experimental paradigms influence experimental outcomes. Together this results in significant waste of research time, effort, resources, and can impact fish welfare– all of which will only increase in importance in the future. We propose this workshop as a tie into the symposia with the same title to bring together a group of interested researchers to raise and discuss specific issues and then develop and share potential solutions to them through discussion. We will introduce and guide discussion of topics by beginning the workshop with three short presentations from experienced mid/early career researchers who have identified challenges, and or have potential solutions worth discussing. Ultimately, we hope this workshop will lay the groundwork towards further empirical tests of design parameters of common cognition assays and possibly result in a review article discussing the challenges and solutions discussed at the workshop. 

Registration form

2. Beyond P-value: effect size estimation and visualisation with Durga R package

- no prior registration necessary -

Primary organiser

Md Kawsar Khan


Jim McLean

Statistical analysis and data visualisation are integral parts of science communication. Null hypothesis significance testing (NHST), despite being extensively criticised by researchers, has long been the most popular statistical approach for data analysis in evolutionary biology and animal behaviour research. Researchers have been advocating for the estimation and reporting of effect sizes for quantitative research to enhance the clarity and effectiveness of data analysis. Reporting effect sizes in scientific publications has until now been mainly limited to numeric tables, even though effect size plotting is a more effective means of communicating results, however, statistical software for plotting effect sizes is currently limited. We have developed the Durga R package to estimate and plot effect sizes. Durga is a powerful statistical and data visualisation package that is easy to use, providing the flexibility to estimate effect sizes of paired and unpaired data using different statistical methods. 


In this workshop we intent to introduce the package and describe the workflow for estimating and plotting effect sizes using example data sets. We further want to help behavioural researchers to practice of calculating and plotting effect size use their own dataset. The paper describing the R package is described in the BirRxiv paper: and the R package is available via CRAN: 


3. Optimising Ethograms: developing clear guidelines for behavioural definitions

- no prior registration necessary -

Primary organiser

Marc Pierard

Ethograms and the behavioural definitions they contain, are the fundamental measuring units of any research project or practical application that relies on animal behaviour. Clear guidelines on the most suitable methods to write valid and reliable ethograms are lacking in the scientific literature. Such guidelines would improve the quality of research and its applications. They would enhance transparency and reproducibility of research and allow reviewers and readers to better understand the value of each study or application. The aim of this workshop is to discuss whether general guidelines to write valid and reliable ethograms are possible and what criteria could be included. This could start by discussing different types of ethograms and behavioural definitions (structural, functional and causal) and how this impacts the requirements for valid and reliable definitions. Researchers working with a variety of species and with experience writing and using ethograms for animals with very different morphology and behaviour can contribute to ensure that the guidelines are relevant and applicable across the entire animal kingdom. The discussion can be continued after the conference to write up the guidelines in a peer reviewed publication. 

4. Behavioural study and animal welfare: a behavioural variety index through “spot check”

- no prior registration necessary -

Primary organiser

Caterina Spiezio


Barbara Regaiolli

Observing animal behaviour can be an efficient and non-invasive technique to understand animals’ needs and therefore enhance their welfare. The performance of a wide repertoire of species-specific behaviours has been considered an indicator of good psychological and physical well-being. However, scientific evidence and methods are needed to rigorously assess animal welfare and in recent years zoo-based research has become increasingly important for ex-situ conservation programs, husbandry and management. According to the aim of the research (and to the time available), different behavioural sampling methods can be used to collect data on animal behaviour. Collecting data on animal behaviour of each individual of a zoological collection can be useful. Behavioural sampling methods such as “spot checks”, used in human studies, can be used by people working in zoos, such as zookeepers, to provide information on animal behavioural repertoire and welfare state. The current workshop will provide an overview and proactive discussion of different behavioural methods, showing some examples of their applications in husbandry practice evaluation (e.g., environmental enrichment, training) in Parco Natura Viva. Moreover, the importance of behavioural spot checks and their potential benefits in the study of zoo animal behaviour and in welfare assessment will be proposed and discussed.

5. Unconscious Bias and Diversity in Research

- Registration closed -

This workshop will be given by Wolfgang Jockusch.


In this workshop, we will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the complex nature of unconscious bias and its impact on research. In three hours, you will learn about the neurological foundation of bias, explore different forms of bias, and examine how bias affects the outcomes of academic research. Participants will also discover the benefits of diversity in research and gain valuable insights into the intersection of bias and behavioural science. By examining real-life case studies and incorporating practical examples, the workshop aims to equip participants with effective strategies for identifying, addressing, and mitigating bias in their research practices. Participants will also learn how to foster an inclusive and equitable research environment that promotes diversity and innovation. This workshop is a valuable opportunity to enhance your awareness of unconscious bias and its impact on the research community. By implementing the strategies and tools learned during the workshop, you can help cultivate a more inclusive and equitable academic environment, foster better research practices, and promote the benefits of diversity within their field.


6. Inclusive Teaching

- Registration closed -

This workshop will be given by Joelyn de Lima.


Higher education is often alienating and exclusive. This is especially true for minoritized students and students who perceive conflicts with aspects of their identities. As educators, both formal and informal, the choices we make have the potential to increase or decrease inclusivity and equitability in education. This workshop, developed using evidence and theoretical frameworks from literature, and contextualised to higher education, will explore themes of inclusivity as a means of promoting equity and sustainability in education.

By the end of the workshop, each participant will:

  • Justify inclusivity in education using evidence that illustrates increases in student learning gains
  • Apply introspective tools to reflect on self-awareness as an integral component of inclusive teaching
  • Increase awareness of human tendencies and develop strategies to moderate their impact
  • Design/redesign courses and activities using Universal Design for Learning to promote inclusivity in all aspects of the course/activity


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