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Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropologie (IEA) Evolutionary Genetics Group

Kathrin Bacher

Phone Fax Email
+41 44 635 54 35 +41 44 635 68 04 kathrin.bacher*

Research Interests

I am interested in combining genetic and ecological approaches to identify responsible mechanisms for behavioral variation within and among populations.
In Shark Bay, Western Australia, wild bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) use marine sponges as foraging tools. Sponging is the first documented case of vertically transmitted material culture in marine mammals.
The purpose of my study is to investigate ecological and genetic factors to compare the transmission patterns of the sponging behavior in Monkey Mia and the new study site Useless Loop.
This will include:

  • Collection of biopsy samples as well as behavioral and ecological data in the field
  • Investigation of habitat use of spongers and non-spongers through home range estimations using a Geographic Information System (GIS)
  • Genetic analyses will be used to examine whether mitochondrial DNA can affect energy levels in bottlenose dolphins

Academic Record

MSc degree in Biology, Anthropology the University of Zurich, Switzerland – 2007-2009

BSc degree in Biology from the University of Zurich, Switzerland – 2006, Major: Biology, Minor: Environmental Science


“The evolutionary and ecological mechanisms underlying the rise of material culture in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in Shark Bay, Western Australia”

Relevant Research Experience

  • Field work in Useless Loop, Shark Bay, Western Australia - June-September 2007
  • Coral Reef Monitoring at the Red Sea Environmental Center in Dahab (Sinai/Egypt) – July-October 2006
  • Biology Field school in South Africa – February 2006
  • Reef fish internship at the RSEC in Dahab (Sinai/Egypt) – August 2005
  • Marine Biology studies in Giglio, Italy – August 2004
  • Voluntary Work at Sea World, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia – June 2003

Weiterführende Informationen

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Kathrin Bacher