I am fascinated how environmental or social factors can shape social and anti-predator behaviours of animals. Consequently I am interested in the effects of early and current environments on social behaviour and how animals adaptively respond to changes in their early or current environment.
Particularly I am interested in the development of social competence as well as in the trade-off in acquiring this skill, the cost/benefit ratio of delayed dispersal, adaptive behavioural mechanisms based on matched or mismatched environments and on the influence of social environment on conflict and cooperation.
Cooperative breeding animals are an ideal study system to address these questions as they have to develop a high variety of ecological relevant behavioural skills to cope with their complex environmental demands.
During my PhD in Bern, Switzerland I did several lab and field experiments using a cooperatively breeding cichlid fish (Neolamprologus pulcher) to investigate the consequences of current and early experience on the adult behavioural phenotype.
After my PhD I received a Swiss National Science Foundation fellowship to investigate the influence of early and current social environment on cooperative behaviour in meerkats (in collaboration with Tim Clutton-Brock, University of Cambridge) and female house mice (in collaboration with Paula Stockley and Jane Hurst, University of Liverpool).
Currently I am NERC funded Postdoctoral Research Associate in the group of Paula Stockley and Jane Hurst to investigate the importance of competition and relatedness on cooperative behaviour in female house mice.
Prizes or Honours
- Best PhD Thesis (University of Bern, Switzerland, 2015)
- Early Postdoc Mobility Fellowship (Swiss National Science Foundation, 2014)