Marc Steinegger

research interest

Animal behaviour, marine biosphere, fish diversity and different aquatic
ecosystems have been major interests of mine for many years.

In my Master thesis I investigated the influence of body condition
on the solution of sexual conflict about parental investment in the
biparental cichlid Eretmodus cyanostictus.
In a lab experiment I tested how parental investment and the
performance of female display behaviour changed in connection
with different food treatments. E. cyanostictus males took over
the young later and incubated the clutch for shorter periods under
limited food conditions. At the same time, no effect of food limitation
on the length of female incubation period was detected, apart from
that they signalled their readiness to shift more intensely.
My results suggested that males adjust their incubation share to
their own body condition, but do not respond to their mate's condition
and increased levels of female display behaviour.

In my Ph.D thesis I investigate the function, mechanisms and
ontogeny of collaborative hunting in the yellow saddle goatfish
(Parupeneus cyclostomus).

Yellow saddle goatfish are the first fish species described as
collaborative hunters where individuals play different roles during
a hunt ('chasers' and 'blockers'), and they encircle prey hiding in
coral crevices and try to pry it out by inserting their barbels.
I have designed an experimentalsetup where the goatfish will be
confronted with mobile invertebrate prey hiding in a tunnel system.
Cameras that are installed above and below will allow me to conduct
detailed behavioural analyses
1) to test the relationship between group size and hunting success,
2) to find out whether the cooperation is a by-product of self-regarding
behaviour or proper reciprocity based on mutual investments.
The laboratory experiments will be complemented with field observations
on yellow goatfish of all size classes. I will describe their foraging
techniques in detail in order to document any changes in the complexity
of coordination with other individuals during the ontogeny. I consider it
likely to find significant changes as yellow goatfish change their diet
during ontogeny, switching from invertebrate prey to fishes.

since 2008
Behavioural Ecology
Supervisor Prof. Redouan Bshary
Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Behavioural Ecology
Supervisors: Prof. Michael Taborsky and Dr. Barbara Taborsky
University of Bern, Switzerland
Erasmus Programme
in Biology
University of Madrid, Spain
Research assistant
of Prof. Heinz Richner and Dr. Pierre Bize
Department of Evolutionary Ecology,
University of Berne, Switzerland
Fieldwork in an Alpine swift (Apus melba) colony
Undergraduate studies 
University of Berne, Switzerland



Room: D 126


Université de Neuchâtel

Institut de Biologie
Rue Emile-Argand 11
CH-2000 Neuchâtel

Tel. +41 32 718 31 52
Fax +41 32 718 30 01