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In the Ethology division we study animal behavior mainly based on Tinbergen’s four questions. This means we are interested in i) the function and fitness effects of variation in behavior, ii) the developmental background to variation in behavior, iii) the mechanisms behind variation in behavior and iv) the phylogenetic patterns of variation in behavior. For this, we use an array of techniques spanning across field observations, lab experiments and phylogenetic comparative analyses to study behavior in different taxa.

Foraging decisions

Animal personality

Fish brain. Foto: Alex Kotraschal.

Brain evolution

Lövsångare. Foto: Johanna Hedlund.

Climate Change and Behaviour

Collective Behaviour


Adaptive colouration



Sexual Selection

Social Behaviour

Våra senaste publikationer

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

Rebecca S. Stutz, Ulrika A. Bergvall, Olof Leimar, Juha Tuomi, Pasi Rautio. 2018. Cohesiveness reduces foraging efficiency in a social herbivore. Animal Behaviour 135: 57-68.

Alberto Corral-López, Maddi Garate-Olaizola, Severine D. Buechel, Niclas Kolm, Alexander Kotrschal. 2017. On the role of body size, brain size, and eye size in visual acuity. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 71.

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.

Alex Szorkovszky, Alexander Kotrschal, James E. Herbert Read, David J. T. Sumpter, Niclas Kolm, Kristiaan Pelckmans. 2017. An efficient method for sorting and quantifying individual social traits based on group-level behaviour. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 8: 1735-1744.

Yi Luo, Mao Jun Zhong, Yan Huang, Feng Li, Wen Bo Liao, Alexander Kotrschal. 2017. Seasonality and brain size are negatively associated in frogs - evidence for the expensive brain framework. Scientific Reports 7.