Dobberke Stichting 2021

De Dr. J.L. Dobberke Stichting voor Vergelijkende Psychologie bevordert onderzoek naar gedragsbiologie bij levende wezens, in het bijzonder diergedrag. De Stichting is opgericht in 1950 door mejuffrouw S.L. van Stolk en in 2005 ondergebracht bij de KNAW.

The social and ecological foundations of irrational decision-making: a cross-species examination

Evy van Berlo
Universiteit van Amsterdam


Although animals make numerous decisions on a daily basis, relatively little is understood about the cognitive, evolutionary, and ecological drivers of decision making. In the current project, we study the mediating role of social and ecological factors in decision-making biases in chimpanzees and humans that forage for food in a virtual 3D foraging environment

Can bar-tailed godwits mitigate the effects of Arctic warming in the Wadden Sea?

Rouland Bom


Many long-distance migratory birds, travelling to Arctic breeding sites, are challenged to align their migration to the earlier availability of seasonal resources for reproduction. By tracking bar-tailed godwits in the Dutch Wadden Sea we will test the hypothesis that fast-fuelling migrants can mitigate the effects of Arctic warming in their staging areas.

The effects of sociality on senescence across an environmental pollution gradient

Heung Ying Janet Chik
Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), Rijksuniversiteit Groningen


In this project we will investigate the link between social networks and senescence, and how this link varies across a pollution gradient, using a house sparrow population under lead poisoning. Examining how sociality influences senescence, and how the extrinsic environment influences sociality, will help us better understand the evolutionary dynamics of social behaviour.   

Do socially reared young adapt better to a changing enivironment? Behavioural and epigenetics effects of the early social environment on offspring in the communally

Pim Hekman
Universiteit Maastricht


The current project aims to find new insights in the relation between sleep and cyclic nucleotide biology to make hippocampal memory function resilient to the effects of sleep loss in mice.

Solar-powered slugs - the ups-and-downs of heading toward the light

Elise Laetz
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen


Solar-powered slugs profit from the energy they produce via sunlight but sun exposure also damages cells. This project examines sun-seeking or avoidance behaviors to characterize how these enigmatic animals handle this evolutionary tradeoff.

Heterogenetity in wild bird attractiveness to, and defensive behaviours against host-seeking mosquitoes

Tjomme van Mastrigt


Transmission of mosquito-borne pathogens in wild, avian host communities is heterogeneous, but mechanisms that explain this variation are largely unexplored. Attractiveness to, and use of defensive behaviours against host-seeking mosquitoes will be compared between and within wild bird species.

Genetic basis of Lionfish Color Vision

Elizabeth Phillips
Wageningen University & Research



How purely day- or night-active animals see the world is well resolved, but what about those active at dawn or dusk? I will use molecular methods (RNA expression of opsin genes) to investigate this in lionfish (Pterois volitans), as I suspect that color vision may be the key to their invasive success.

My one true friend, sleep: an evolutionary pathway linking sociability, sleep and memory

Adithya Sarma
Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), Rijksuniversiteit Groningen


We investigate whether variations in sociability in conjunction with the amount of social exposure determine the objective need for sleep and resultant cognitive impairment due to sleep loss.

Habitat matching or local adaptation: how does habitat quality drive variation in cognitive traits

Eva Serrano Davies


Animals differ in how they acquire knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses. Can habitat quality shape these differences? This project we will test how habitat variation may influence learning abilities in wild birds and its fitness consequences.

The evolution of long term pair-bond behaviour in the Seychelles warbier

Frigg Speelman
Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), Rijksuniversiteit Groningen


Long-term partnerships are of fundamental evolutionary importance, but most research has been dedicated to sexual conflict rather than cooperation in a pair bond. In this project, the evolution of long-term partnerships and divorce in socially monogamous breeding systems will be explored by quantifying the fitness benefits, heritability, and life-history associations of partnerships.

Indication of affective states in great tits

Utku Urhan


Different emotional states create distinct cognitive, behavioural and physiological outcomes. I will study the cognitive, behavioural and physiological correlates of emotional states in small passerines by using great tits (Parus major) as a model species.

Sociality problems: fledging young and small together or old and large alone?

Simon Verhulst
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

We test a novel hypothesis on social peer pressure forcing juvenile birds to leave the safety of their nest prematurely to join the colony flock that provides safety in numbers.