Dr. Joshka Kaufmann

I would identify myself as an experimental behavioural ecologist with a general curiosity in all fields of Evolutionary Biology. Throughout my research activity, I have used experimental approaches to study the principles underlying variation in both natural and sexual selection in vertebrates. I am particularly interested in the role of ecological forces (parasites, environmental stochasticity) on processes of selection but also on alternative modes of inheritance (e.g. parental effects).

During my Ph.D. at the MPI for Evolutionary Biology in Ploen, my work focused on studying the diversity of host defenses, their modes of inheritance as well as the role of parasite-mediated selection in speciation, using the three-spined stickleback as an experimental model system. There I also developed a genuine and critical interest in biostatistics and the philosophy of statistics.

Ultimately, I try to understand how polymorphism is maintained at the genetic, phenotypic and species level through disruptive or frequency-dependent selection in systems with two or more actors. To this end, I am using a number of various techniques (experimental exposures, in vitro fertilizations, experimental and semi-natural enclosures…) looking at many different traits of interests that lie at the core of behavioral ecology (coloration, reproductive strategies, sperm, macroparasites and blood parasites, behavioral syndromes). I am currently working on these topics using the common lizard Lacerta vivipara.

Overall, my research contributes to unravelling processes of adaptive evolution and thereby contributes to the development of the extended evolutionary synthesis.

“Wonderful and admirable as most instincts are, yet they cannot be considered as absolutely perfect: there is a constant struggle going on throughout nature between the instinct of the one to escape its enemy and of the other to secure its prey”
(Charles Darwin, in Romanes 1883).

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Office room: 2101
Phone: +4121 692 4176
Fax: +4121 692 4165

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