PD Dr. Dina Dechmann

Research Scientist
Department Wikelski
IMPRS Faculty
MPI of Animal Behavior
+49 7732 1501-73

Main Focus

If I had categorise myself, I would call myself a classical behavioural ecologist with a passion for evolution. My scientific interest revolves around the central question: Why do animals live in groups? And how do the ecological niche and energetic constraints play a role in that? I focus on short and long distance movements and their reciprocal link with the evolution of sociality.

I’m particularly interested in comparing knowledge gathered from geographical comparisons such as the tropics and the temperate zones. This allows us to test many current theories we have explaining the evolution of sociality and mating systems excluding confounding influences of seasons and seasonal behaviours such as migration and hibernation.

As a secondary research focus down the avenue of energetic constraints and ecological niche, I am also interested in the evolution of brain size.

Selected grants & awards

  • 2016 Max-Planck-Förderstiftung
  • 2014 National Geographic Northern Explorers Grant
  • 2013 Associate Staff Member Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • 2013 Poland-Max Planck Biodiversity Initiative
  • 2011 Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • 2011 Young Scholar Fund, University of Konstanz
  • 2010 Karl Mayer Stiftung, Lichtenstein
  • 2007-08 Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • 2007 Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) with Dr. Christian Voigt and Dr. Stephanie Speck
  • 2001 Fonds zur Förderung akademischen Nachwuchses (FAN), Zürcher Universitätsverein
  • 2001 Roche Research Foundation, with Prof. Barbara König and Dr. Gerald Kerth

Teaching at University of Konstanz

  • Computational ecology colloquium (ongoing)
  • Participation in lecture series Evolutionary Organismal Biology, Ecology for Non-biologists
  • Scientific writing WS2014/15, WS2016/17
  • Organisation of lecture series: Animal Migrations - towards a mechanistic understanding WS2009/10.
  • Vertiefungskurse "going wild": all taught together with M. Wikelski. All have resulted in published papers, co-authoring students: 2009, 2010, 2011 (combined with Princeton course in Panama); 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017 (taught in Germany)

Ongoing collaborations

  • Manfred Gahr (MPIO Seewiesen), Irmgard Amrein, University of Zurich: adult neurogenesis
  • Christian Dullin, University of Göttingen; Dario Jimenez, MPI for Molecular Genetics: Dehnel’s Phenomenon in the bone
  • Jan Taylor (University of Bialystok), Karol Zub (MRI), Moritz Hertel (MPI Seewiesen), Chet Sherwood (George Washington University), adult neurogenesis and seasonal brain size changes
  • Bat Conservation International, Jakob Fahr (University of Braunschweig), Richard Suu-Ire (Ghana Wildlife Services), Paul Webala (University of Kenya): migration in the Straw-coloured flying fox, Eidolon helvum
  • Irek Ruczynski (Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza), evolution of sociality in male bats and migration of European bats
  • Kamran Safi (MPIO), Jeroen Smaers (Stony Brook), evolution of brain size
  • Liliana Davalos (Stony Brook): Evolution of olfactory systems in bats
  • Sharon Swartz (Brown University): Biomechanics of shrews and mustelids

Selected invited talks

  • Biologging Symposium, Porto, 2017 (plenary)
  • CNRS, Strasbourg, 2017 (seminar)
  • Anthropological Institute, University of Zurich, 2016 (seminar)
  • International Symposium - Biology of the Soricidae IV, 2016 (plenary)
  • International Bat Research Symposium, Durban, 2016 (plenary)
  • Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland, 2015 (seminar)
  • Denkfest Zurich, 2014 (plenary)
  • Grand Challenges Symposium, IMPRS for Organismal Ecology, Seewiesen 2013
  • Elisabeth Kalko Memorial Symposium, Panama, 2012 (seminar)
  • Institute of Zoology, London, 2011 (seminar)
  • Fachbereichseminar University of Konstanz, 2011 (seminar)
  • University of Bielefeld, 2011 (seminar)
  • ESEI Bats to Humans Catalyst Grant Workshop, Brighton, United Kingdom, 2010
  • RAPIDD Workshop on Bat Disease Dynamics, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2009
  • Workshop on the ecology of Eidolon helvum and associated infectious diseases, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2008
  • Population biology, University of Texas, Austin, USA, 2008 (seminar)
  • Barro Colorado Island, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama, 2007 (Bambi seminar)
  • Anatomisches Institut, University of Zuerich, Switzerland, 2006 (seminar)
  • Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland, 2005 (seminar)
  • Brain Awareness Week, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. 2006 (invited talk)

Reviewing activities

  • Mammalia
  • Journal of Mammalogy
  • Acta Chiropterologica
  • Behaviour
  • Ethology
  • Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology
  • PLOS one
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society
  • NERC
  • National Geographic

Editorial board

  • Journal of Zoology, London

Curriculum Vitae

  • Since 2012 Research Scientist, Max Planck Insitute for Ornithology, Radolfzell, Germany
  • 2008-2012 Research Assistant, Biology Department, University of Konstanz, Germany
  • Since 2007 Research Fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • 2007-2008 DFG-Postdoc, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany
  • 2005-2007 Sales & Marketing Representative, NewBehavior AG, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2006 SNF-Postdoc, Institute of Anatomy, University of Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2005 PhD in Animal Behavior, Zoological Institute, University of Zürich, Switzerland
  • 1999 MSc in Systematics & Ecology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland

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