Wouter van der Bijl

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Wouter van der Bijl



Zoologiska institutionen: Etologi
08-15 95 22
Svante Arrheniusväg 18 B
D 522
Stockholms universitet
Zoologiska institutionen: Etologi
106 91 Stockholm


My current work is on understanding some of the selection pressures involved in vertebrate brain evolution. What are the costs and benefits of having a large brain? What specific behavioral advantages do large-brained individuals have? I use guppies that have been artificially selected for relative brain size and compare the behavior of small and large-brained fish. This helps us understand what larger brained individuals are good at.

My focus is mostly on tasks in a direct ecological context

My current focus is on relating social cognition to brain size, such as social learning, social recognition and memory and contest resolution. I have also done experiments on predator responses of these fish, such as predator inspections and risk taking behavior.

I'm interested in using strong quantitative analysis of animal behavior, such as video tracking and social networks.

I also do some work in R. I've written/am writing:
- The 'phylopath' package for phylogenetic path analysis. It's currently on CRAN.
- The 'trackr' package for analysis and visualization of video tracking data. It's currently in development, and can be found on GitHub.



Séverine D. Buechel, Annika Boussard, Alexander Kotrschal, Wouter van der Bijl, Niclas Kolm. 2018. Brain size affects performance in a reversal-learning test. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 285.

Wouter van der Bijl. 2018. phylopath - Easy phylogenetic path analysis in R. PeerJ 6.

Alex Szorkovszky, Alexander Kotrschal, James E. Herbert-Read, Severine D. Buechel, Maksym Romenskyy, Emil Rosen, Wouter van der Bijl, Kristiaan Pelckmans, Niclas Kolm, David J. T. Sumpter. 2018. Assortative interactions revealed by sorting of animal groups. Animal Behaviour 142: 165-179.

Alberto Corral-López, Natasha I. Bloch, Alexander Kotrschal, Wouter van der Bijl, Severine D. Buechel, Judith E. Mank, Niclas Kolm. 2017. Female brain size affects the assessment of male attractiveness during mate choice. Science Advances 3.

Alexander Kotrschal, Hong-Li Zeng, Wouter van der Bijl, Caroline Öhman-Mägi, Kurt Kotrschal, Kristiaan Pelckmans, Niclas Kolm. 2017. Evolution of brain region volumes during artificial selection for relative brain size. Evolution 71: 2942-2951.

Philipp Lehmann, Wouter Van der Bijl, Sören Nylin, Christopher W. Wheat, Karl Gotthard. 2017. Timing of diapause termination in relation to variation in winter climate. Physiological entomology (Print) 42: 232-238.

Wouter van der Bijl, Niclas Kolm. 2016. Why direct effects of predation complicate the social brain hypothesis And how incorporation of explicit proximate behavioral mechanisms might help. Bioessays 38: 568-577.

Alberto Corral-López, Simon Eckerström-Liedholm, Wouter Van der Bijl, Alexander Kotrschal, Niclas Kolm. 2015. No association between brain size and male sexual behavior in the guppy. Current Zoology 61: 265-273.

Wouter van der Bijl, Malin Thyselius, Alexander Kotrschal, Niclas Kolm. 2015. Brain size affects the behavioural response to predators in female guppies (Poecilia reticulata). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 282: 116-124.

Övrigt vetenskapligt

Wouter van der Bijl. 2018. Why and how brain size evolves - Sociality, predation and allometry. Doctoral thesis. Department of Zoology, Stockholm University.

Tsuboi Masahito, Wouter van der Bijl, Bjørn Tore Kopperud, Johannes Erritzøe, Kjetil L. Voje, Alexander Kotrschal, Kara E. Yopak, Shaun P. Collin, Thomas F. Hansen, Andrew Iwaniuk, Niclas Kolm. Breakdown of brain-body allometry and the exceptional encephalization of mammals and birds.

Wouter van der Bijl, Alexander Kotrschal, Séverine D. Buechel, Niclas Kolm. Cognitive ability and antagonistic social competence: contest duration depends on loser’s brain size.

Wouter van der Bijl, Masahito Tsuboi, Andrew N. Iwaniuk, Niclas Kolm. Prey-predator interactions and the evolution of bird brain morphology.

Christina Hansen Wheat, Wouter van der Bijl, Hans Temrin. Dogs, but not wolves, lose their sensitivity towards novelty with age.