Available Theses

1. Density and Personality

Looking for a thesis candidate for a longitudinal study on experimental rodent populations in large outdoor enclosures, on the function of animal personality in fluctuating populations of iteroparous animals.

Contact persons: Prof. Dr. Jana A. Eccard (eccarduni-potsdamde)

Density and personality


2. Cognition in small mammals

2a. Master Thesis - Innovation and problem-solving along the rural-urban gradient

Living in a human-altered world requires the ability to produce new behaviours or to apply novel solutions to old problems.  Here we want to develop experimental methods to test innovative behaviour directly on the field and investigate potential differences in innovative problem solving and foraging in small mammals along a rural-urban gradient.

Contact persons: Dr. Valeria Mazza (vamazzauni-potsdamde), Prof. Dr. Jana A. Eccard (eccarduni-potsdamde)

Innovation and problem-solving


2b. Master Thesis - Animal personality and spatial learning (Spring-Summer)

Spatial memory and learning enable animals to collect, retain and use spatial  information, to evaluate the relationship between objects and location. Here we investigate how inter-individual variation in spatial memory and learning is linked to animal personality, the consistent variation in behaviour between conspecifics.

Contact persons: Dr. Valeria Mazza (vamazzauni-potsdamde), Prof. Dr. Jana A. Eccard (eccarduni-potsdamde)

Personality and spatial learning


3. Ecosystem services of voles – BioGeo

Biological station Gülpe (Havelland)

Are voles of any use? In this project we want to investigate the effect of vole burrows on the precipitation runoff, water retention, nutrient washout, etc. in the context of changing precipitation patters (heavy rain, floods). The project includes the analysis of already collected long-term data from experiments run at the station in Gülpe (Lysimeter experiment) as well as the conduction of own, short precipitation experiments.

Contact person: Prof. Dr. Jana  Eccard (eccard@uni-potsdam.de)

Ecosystem services of voles


4. Nesting without worrying: song bird conservation measures in Park Sanssouci

Invasive alien species (IAS) are one of the greatest threats to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, even in urban and residential areas. Preliminary observations suggest that the little occupation of nest boxes in Park Sanssouci (Potsdam) is to be ascribed to high rates of raccoon predation on eggs and nestlings. In this project, we aim to develop a raccoon-proof system of nest boxes for local songbirds, and monitor the progressive (re-)colonisation. Preparation would start in March, field work would commence from April to June 2022.

Contact person: Prof. Dr.  Jana  Eccard (eccard@uni-potsdam.de)

Nest boxes Park Sanssouci


5.  Interactions between a native and an invasive rodent species – activity patterns and personalities

In the last 100 years the central European bank vole is spreading in Ireland, reducing the populations of native wood mice. As a master thesis project activity patterns of the species occurring together and alone can be compared based on videos, as well as the behaviour of the rodents in spy boxes can be analyzed in relation to their personality.

Contact person: Prof. Dr.  Jana  Eccard (eccard@uni-potsdam.de)

Interaction between native and invasive species