Available Theses

1. Horse behaviour on the trail-paddock

 To simulate the long distance migration of wild horses, horse-friendly excercise relys on setting up round trails called "Trail Paddock". In this project we want to investigate if and how the trail improves the horses condition and well being.

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

Trail paddock


2. Cognition in small mammals

2a. Bachelor/Master Thesis - Effects of ageing on learning abilities in small mammals

While individual differences in behaviour are defined as “consistent over time and across contexts”, cognitive abilities are subject to the effects of ageing. In this project, we aim at investigating the effects of ageing on learning speed and flexibility in small mammals. 

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

Ageing and learning


2b. Bachelor/Master Thesis - Personality and cognitive strategies in small mammals

Patterns of individual differences in cognition have been studied systematically in the last decade, but causes and consequences of this variation are still largely unclear. In this project we want to measure and compare individual differences in learning speed and flexibility of small mammals, along personality traits exploration, activity and boldness.

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

Personality and cognition


2c. 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


2d. 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: 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.

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

Nest boxes Park Sanssouci