Head of Division
Prof. Dr. Michael Taborsky

Institut für Ökologie und Evolution
Telefon: +41 31 631 91 11
Telefax: +41 31 631 91 41
E-Mail:   claudia.leiser@iee.unibe.ch

Ethologische Station Hasli
Wohlenstrasse 50a
CH-3032 Hinterkappelen

How to find us ...

Universität Bern


SCIENCE ADVANCES Alternative male morphs solve sperm performance/longevity trade-off in opposite directions M. Taborsky, D. Schütz, O. Goffinet & G.S.van Doorn


Media release, University of Bern


Reciprocal trading of different commodities in Norway rats. M.K. Schweinfurth & M. Taborsky

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Nature research highlight
Current Biology dispatch

PNAS - Divergence of developmental trajectories is triggered interactively by early social and ecological experience in a cooperative breeder. Fischer, Bohn, Oberhummer, Nyman & B. Taborsky
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commentary on Fischer et al

PNAS - Predation risk drives social complexity in cooperative breeders. Groenewoud, Frommen, Josi, Tanaka, Jungwirth & Taborsky
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The evolution of cooperation based on direct fitness benefits. Phil Trans theme issue compiled and edited by Taborsky M., Frommen JG & Riehl C. (2016)
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NATURE COMMUNICATIONS Kinship reduces alloparental care in cooperative cichlids where helpers pay-to-stay
Zoettl M., Heg D., Chervet N. & Taborsky M. (2013)

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Social competence: an evolutionary approach
Taborsky, B. & Oliveira, R.F.
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Larval helpers and age polyethism in ambrosia beetles
Biedermann P.H.W. & Taborsky M.
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Animal personality due to social niche specialisation
Bergmueller R. & Taborsky M.
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Environmental Change Enhances Cognitive Abilities in Fish
Kotrschal, A. & Taborsky, B.
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Extended phenotypes as signals
Franziska C. Schaedelin and Michael Taborsky
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On the Origin of Species by Natural and Sexual Selection
G. Sander van Doorn, Pim Edelaar, Franz J. Weissing
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Cambridge University Press
Alternative Reproductive Tactics: An Integrative

Oliveira R., Taborsky M. & Brockmann H.J.
more information

Thomas Riebli



Email: thomas.riebli@iee.unibe.ch

Phone: +41 31 631 91 52

Research Interest

Due to my fascination for animal behaviour I started to study Biology at the University of Berne, where I then did my Diploma thesis in the Behavioural Ecology Group supervised by Prof. Michael Taborsky. My main interest is the investigation of mechanisms that lead to the evolution of cooperation. Under that scope I did my Diploma thesis where I tried to find whether pairs individuals of the cooperatively breeding cichlid, Neolamprologus pulcher, are able to coordinate cooperative behaviours. Further I tested whether those fish are able to interact on a reciprocal basis. I found indications that those fish temporally coordinate cooperative behaviours, they also seem to take previous interactions with the current partner to take into account when they repeatedly interact with each other.

For my PhD project, supervised by Prof. Michael Taborsky, I try extend the work about  reciprocal cooperation, with which I already started in my Diploma thesis. Further I would like to investigate how individual interactions, especially behavioral characteristics of the animals influence the level of cooperation shown within breeding groups. There is a lot of work in the fields of personalty and cooperation going on, but there is less attention is drawn to link those two fields, and with my work I would like to bring those two fields together.

The study system that I will use is Neolamprologus pulcher, a small cichlid, that is endemic to Lake Tanganyika, East Africa. This species is a cooperative breeder, so there is a dominant breeding pair and several more or less closely related helpers that all together care for the brood and defend the territory.


Curriculum Vitae


June 2008

PhD candidate at Behavioural Ecology Department, Institute for Ecology and Evolution, University of Berne

Feb 2007 - Apr 2008

Diploma Thesis on Social facilitation and Reciprocity in Neolamprologus pulcher, supervised by Michael Taborsky. University of Berne

Spring 2007

Amateurs Certificate for Field Herpetology, Reptiles. KARCH, Neuchâtel

Spring 2006

Amateurs Certificate for Field Herpetology, Amphibians. KARCH, Neuchâtel

Talks / Conferences

Feb 2011


Personality affects dominance and growth in cichlids. Biology 11, University of Zürich

Jul 2010


Social facilitation and reciprocity – Simultaneous and successive coordination of cooperation. European Conference on Behavioural Biology, Ferrara, Italy

Aug 2009


Social facilitation and reciprocity in the cooperatively breeding cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher. Summer Symposium of Behavioural Ecology at Adelboden, University of Berne

Jan 2009


How different mechanisms influence altruism in the cooperatively breeding cichlid, Neolamprologus pulcher. Institut für Evolutions Biologie und Ökologie, University of Bonn

Sep 2008


14th European Meeting of PhD Students in Evolutionary Biology. Einsiedeln, CH


  • Thomas Riebli, Batur Avgan, Anna-Maria Bottini, Caroline Duc, Michael Taborsky, Dik Heg. 2010. Behavioural type affects dominance and growth in staged encounters of cooperatively breeding cichlids. Animal Behaviour, 81, 313-323. [request pdf, Email]

Personal Information

In my spare time I like to play guitar, listen to music, having BBQ with friends, go for walks and bicycle tours and scuba diving. Aquaristic is not only in my working, but also in my private environment an important part. I am interested in observing animals in nature, focusing on amphibians, reptiles, bats. But I also like to relax by cooking or by handicraft work.