I recently finished my PhD in the "Virtual Fish Project" in the lab of Prof. Klaudia Witte at University of Siegen, Germany. For my PhD, I studied the use of public information in mate choice, with focus on mate-choice copying, in the sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna). For this, I used real fish stimuli and 3D virtual sailfin mollies in behavioural experiments. To achieve this, I took part in developing the free and open-source FishSim Animation Toolchain which helps in creating, animating and presenting computer-animated fish. I like capturing animals and people with my camera and have a secret love for computer games which made my PhD even more fascinating.
PhD Research. University of Siegen, Germany.
2014 - 2020
I was part of an interdisciplinary research group of computer scientists and biologists funded by the DFG. The project aimed to get a closer understanding of mate choice decisions with the main focus on mate choice copying in the sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna). The enormous changeability of virtual animal models makes it possible to alter information content in any order. Manipulating visual traits and behavioral patterns is a powerful tool to get further information on the critical characteristics of being an attractive mating partner. With the help of computer animations I tried to find the information responsible for initiating mate choice copying.
See Publications for the latest research published in this project.
The virtual lover in 2014 The virtual lover in 2016
Diploma. University of Bonn, Germany.
2011 - 2012
During my diploma studies at University of Bonn, I trained Malawi cichlids in visual discrimination and matching-to-sample tasks in the lab of Prof. Dr. Horst Bleckmann and PD Dr. Vera Schlüssel. I used Microsoft Powerpoint and a projector for creation and presentation of geometrical stimuli during experiments providing an automated and standardized procedure. The findings of my research were published in the peer-reviewed open-access journal PLoS ONE (see Publications).
Internship at Cologne Zoo, Germany.
Undergraduate research internship (2 months) on group living in the California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus). Here, I gathered ethological data on group living sea lions in captivity with focus on one female individual showing a behavioral disorder. My internship was supervised by Bernd Marcordes (Curator).
Internship at Aquazoo Löbbecke Museum Düsseldorf, Germany.
2009 - 2010
Undergraduate research internship (3 months) on the parental investment in the Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni). Here, I did behavioral observations focussing on changes in breathing frequency of mouth-brooding males compared to males without eggs. My internship was supervised by Marion Wille (Curator).