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Our group addresses questions lying at the interface between behavioural, evolutionary sensory and, more recently, disease ecology. We are particularly interested in predator-prey interactions, parental care behaviour, and life history trade-offs, and how these are impacted by global change. We study these topics mostly in amphibians, which are known to be reliable indicators of ecosystem health, and one of the most endangered taxa due to anthropogenic activities. Currently, our main projects focus on the evolutionary ecology of phytotelm breeders, the dynamics of disease transmission in the wild, and the evolution of warning signals and chemical defences in poison frogs and fire salamanders in relation to habitat alteration.

In our lab we also have a soft spot for brightly coloured moths, which we study in close collaboration with the Ecology and Evolution of Interactions Research Group at the University of Helsinki. We are fond of interdisciplinary studies, and carry out our research both in the laboratory and in the field, always grounded on our study systems' natural history.


  • Parental care and evolutionary ecology of poison frog larvae
  • Behavioural and ecological correlates of disease transmission in the wild
  • Effect of anthropogenic stressors on amphibian life history and behaviour
  • Habitat disturbance and predator-prey interactions

Our team

Carolin Dittrich (Postdoc)
Chloe Fouilloux (PhD student)
Lia Schlippe Justicia (PhD student)
Ria Sonnleitner (Research assistant)
Christoph Leeb (honorary member —salamander advisor in-chief)

Further info