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).

Since 2015
First Assistant (Première Assistant), Ecology and Evolution Department, Lausanne University, Switzerland
Head of the group: Patrick S. Fitze
1st Semester 2015
Post-doctoral position with Prof. Manfred Milinski and Dr. Tobias Lenz at the Department of Evolutionary Ecology, Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, Germany

Early 2015
Ph.D. thesis with Prof. Manfred Milinski, Dr. Tobias Lenz and Dr. Christophe Eizaguirre at the Department of Evolutionary Ecology, Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, Germany. Summa cum laude.
Thesis title: From gametes to species: Genetic and non-genetic effects in parasite-mediated selection

Field assistant with Dr. Michael Coslovsky and Prof. Heinz Richner at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Switzerland

Master’s degree in ecology with a concentration in evolutionary ecology at the UPMC University (Paris 6, France). With honors.
Thesis with Dr. David Laloi & Dr. Jean-François Le Galliard at the Laboratoire Ecologie & Evolution, Paris, France: Sperm transfer, copula duration and sexual conflict in a polygynandrous lizard

Awards & fellowships

  • International Max-Planck Research School travel grants (2012, 2013)
  • Best Poster Award at the XXth International Congress of Zoology, 2008
  • Master scholarship based on academic excellence, Ministry of Higher Education and Research, France, 2008
  • Member of the International Society of Zoological Sciences since 2008
  • Member of the German Genetics Society since 2010
  • Member of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology since 2011

Selected communications:

  • 2015 15th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), Lausanne, Switzerland, oral contribution
  • 2013 14th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), Lisbon, Portugal, oral and poster contribution
  • 2012 SERL 2012 : Ecology & Behavior, Chizé, France, poster contribution - 14th International Behavioral Ecology Congress (ISBE), Lund, Sweden, oral contribution
  • 2011 13th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), Tübingen, Germany, oral contribution - 3rd  Volkswagen-Status Symposium “Evolution at the Sea”, Sylt, Germany, poster contribution
  • 2010 Evolutionary Genetics: From Genes to Ecosystems, Koppelsberg, Germany, oral contribution - Co-organizer at the 8th Aquavit symposium, Plön, Germany
  • 2009 SERL 2009 : Ecology & Behavior, Lyon, France, oral contribution
  • 2008 4th European Conference on Behavioral Biology (ECBB), Dijon, France, poster contribution - XXth International Congress of Zoology, Paris, France, poster contribution - Member of the organization staff at the XXth International Congress of Zoology meeting

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

Member of Fitze group

Biophore - CH-1015 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 692 41 60
Fax +41 21 692 41 65