Research Group Behavioural Ecology of Individual Differences

Research Group Behavioural Ecology of Individual Differences

The main topic of the group is to understand the causes and consequences of individual variation. Individual differences have a genetic basis but are also caused by early environmental experiences. The non-genetic influence of the parental phenotype contributes strongly to the early environmental experience, and such transgenerational (epigenetic) effects may even resemble heritable (genetic) effects. Studying individual differences in physiology, development and behaviour, its plasticity and flexibility enables us to understand how individuals, populations and species cope with and adapt to short- and long-term fluctuations and changes in their environment.

Mainly using different species of wild mice, our current projects and interests include:

a)     Development of animal personality and sensitive time windows

b)     Neuroendocrine mechanisms of personality development

c)     Transgenerational (epigenetic) effects that influence behaviour

d)     Understanding the adaptive significance of individual differences in behaviour in different environments

e)     The covariation of animal personality with life history and cognitive traits

f)      The evolution of animal personality and cognition

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