The research focus of the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology is behavioural ecology, and specifically sexual selection.  A variety of animal species are used as model organisms, especially mammals, birds, and fish, which are studied in natural habitat, in semi-natural enclosures, and in experimental settings.  In addition to the classical observation of behaviour, molecular genetics and biochemical methods are increasingly being used to answer questions regarding the adaptive value of behaviour and the underlying physiological mechanisms.  The Ornithology Division of the Institute also operates the Austrian bird observatory.