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


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

Nastassja Gfrerer (-Rieder)



Email: nastassja.rieder@iee.unibe.ch

Research Interests

Cooperation and social competence in dogs (Canis familiaris).

Dogs are known to be highly social and with my Master thesis I could show that dogs are able to cooperate with conspecifics through reciprocity. During my PhD I continue studying reciprocal cooperation mechanisms in dogs in various situations.

Further, I am interested in social competence and working ability of specialised working dogs (protection and rescue dogs). More exactly, I test different housing conditions and touch with this part of the PhD also issues of animal welfare.

For both parts of my PhD I work with the Swiss military dogs. This gives me the opportunity to work daily with these dogs and to have similar backgrounds of my study species.

The project is supported by the Swiss military, Haldimann Stiftung, Albert Heim Stiftung, Margaret und Francis Fleitmann Stiftung and Happydog.

Curriculum Vitae

Since 2014 PhD in Behavioural Ecology at the University of Bern. Supervisors: Prof. Dr. M. Taborsky & Prof. Dr. H. Würbel
2011 - 2013 Master of Science in Ecology and Evolution with special qualification in Behavioural Ecology, University of Bern: Reciprocal cooperation mechanisms in dogs. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. M. Taborsky
2008 - 2011 Bachelor of Science in Biology (Conservation Biology, University of Bern): Direct and indirect effect of leaving uncut areas as a refuge in hay meadows on wild and bumble bees


Gfrerer, N., Taborsky, M. (2017): Working dogs cooperate among one another by generalised reciprocity. Scientific Reports 7:43867 [pdf]

Contributions at Conferences


PhD Symposium
Trogen, CH, 2014
2nd Annual Workshop: Proximate and Ultimate Causes of Cooperation
Reciprocal cooperation mechanism in dogs
PhD Symposium
Bern, CH, 2014
Human-animal interactions: impact on animal welfare and behaviour
Social competence and working ability of military dogs
PhD Symposium
Trogen, CH, 2015
3rd Annual Workshop: Proximate and Ultimate Causes of Cooperation
Dogs generalise reciprocal cooperation between different situations
Walks & Talks
Ranflüh, CH, 2015
Division of Animal Welfare at the University of Bern
Socialisation trainings reduce aggression towards conspecifics in military dogs
PhD Symposium
Trogen, CH, 2016
4th Annual Workshop: Proximate and Ultimate Causes of Cooperation
Indirect reciprocity in working dogs
Canine Science Forum,
Padova, I, 2016
Main international meeting devoted to the biology, ecology and behaviour of dogs, wolves and related canids
Indirect reciprocity in working dogs


Biology 15
Dübendorf, CH, 2015
Annual Swiss Conference on Ecology, Evolution, Systematics, Biogeography and Conservation
Dogs generalize reciprocal cooperation between different tasks
Biology 16
Lausanne, CH, 2016
Annual Swiss Conference on Ecology, Evolution, Systematics, Biogeography and Conservation
Indirect reciprocity in working dogs
Ethological society
Göttingen, D, 2016
11th annual meeting of the ethological society
Indirect reciprocity in working dogs