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

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Universität Bern


3 PhD Positions in Behavioural Ecology
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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

Danielle Bonfils



Email: Danielle.bonfils@iee.unibe.ch

Phone: +41 31 631 3025

Research Interest

Since I’ve been young I have always been interested in nature and in life. During my studies of Biology at the University of Berne, I focused on molecular biology and completed my degree with a Diploma thesis on molecular genetics of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

In 1989, after several years working as a scientific collaborator at Novartis Research Institute in Berne and Basel, I had the opportunity to come back to the University of Berne and to help in building up a molecular genetic laboratory for both the Evolutionary Ecology group of Prof. Heinz Richner and the Behavioural Ecology group of Prof. Michael Taborsky at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution. The aim was to perform genetic analyses in birds and fish, like molecular sexing of bird nestlings or parentage analyses and genetic relatedness analyses in birds and fish.

My work for the Behavioural Ecology group focuses mainly on parentage analysis and population genetic studies of several cichlid fish species from Lake Tanganyika, East Africa, thereby providing genetic data for different projects like cooperative breeding, sperm competition or the evolution of alternative reproductive behaviour.

For both parentage analysis experiments and population genetic studies we use microsatellite markers - short tandem repeat sequences in nuclear DNA with a high level of inter- and intra-specific polymorphism.

The analyses are carried out by multiplex PCR amplification with locus-specific, fluorescently labelled primer pairs, visualization of the PCR products by capillary electrophoresis and data evaluation with appropriate software. Statistical analyses are carried out to determine parentage or genetic relatedness.

Curriculum Vitae

1998 until present

Scientific collaborator at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Berne.

Molecular genetic analyses for the groups of Behavioural Ecology (Prof. Michael Taborsky) and Evolutionary Ecology (Prof Heinz Richner).

1989 – 1998

Scientific collaborator at the Novartis Research Institute (former Sandoz Research Institute) in Basel and Berne. Neuropharmacology and Molecular Genetics of Mental Health Diseases.


Diploma thesis on molecular genetics of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, supervisor Prof. Jürg Kohli, Institute of Cell Biology.

1982 – 1989

Studies of Biology at the University of Berne.


  • D. Heg , Jutzeler E., Bonfils D. & Mitchell J. S. (2008) Group composition affects male reproductive partitioning in a cooperatively breeding cichlid. Molecular Ecology 17: 4359-4370.

  • Heg D., Bergmueller R., Bonfils D., Otti O., Bachar Z., Burri R., Heckel G. & Taborsky M. (2006): Cichlids do not adjust reproductive skew to the availability of independent breeding options. Behavioral Ecology 17, 419-429.

Personal Information

Zusammen mit meiner erwachsenen Tochter und meinem Freund lebe ich in Hinterkappelen am Wohlensee.

Ich liebe es, in der Natur zu sein und zu beobachten, spannende und interessante Gespräche zu führen mit meiner Familie und mit Freunden, gute Bücher zu lesen, mich weiterzubilden und mich allgemein mit dem Leben auseinander zu setzen.

Themen wie Astrologie, Aura Soma Farbtherapie, Psychologie, Naturheiltherapien, Spiritualität und einiges mehr gehören ebenso zu meinem Leben wie die Naturwissenschaften, sie begleiten mich schon lange und sind für mich eine wichtige Energiequelle.

Auf diese Weise bin ich sowohl beruflich als auch in meiner Freizeit immer mit der Natur in Verbindung und habe die Möglichkeit, das Leben nicht nur „in vitro“, sondern auch hinter den Kulissen zu studieren.