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Bernd Egger

Universität Basel,
Zoologisches Institut
Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel


+41 (0)61 207 03 05

+41 (0)61 207 03 01


Bernd Egger

PostDoc in the group of Walter Salzburger.

Current research

Egg spots - a complex etho-morphological trait The majority of East African cichlid species are members of a single tribe, the Haplochromini, comprising most riverine East African cichlid species and the species flocks of Lakes Malawi and Victoria. An important feature shared by haplochromines is their special breeding behaviour, in the form of maternal mouthbrooding with females incubating the eggs in their buccal cavities. Mouthbrooding evolved several times during cichlid evolution, but only haplochromines show a characteristic polygynous or polygynandrous maternal mouthbrooding system with males carrying conspicuous egg-spots on the anal fin. These yellow to orange egg-like spots have an important function in the courtship and spawning behaviour of haplochromines, as they serve as intraspecific sexual advertisement to attract females and to maximize breeding success. The number, arrangement and morphology of haplochromine egg-spots differ between species (and to some degree also within species) and some haplochromines even lack egg-spots entirely, either due to their ancestral phylogenetic branching or because they lost their dummies secondarily.
I’m applying behavioural experiments and molecular techniques in order to investigate the evolutionary significance and developmental basis of egg-spots.

Curriculum vitae

2009- Postdoctoral fellow with Walter Salzburger at the Zoological Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland.
2008-2009 Research officer (Post-Doc position) for Prof. George Turner at the Molecular Ecology and Fisheries Genetics Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, UK.
2008 Research associate (Post-Doc position) at the Department of Zoology, University of Graz.
2004-2007 Research associate (PhD position) at the Department of Zoology, University of Graz PhD thesis: ‘The role of sexual selection and habitat instabilities in the evolution of intraspecific colour variation in the cichlid genus Tropheus from Lake Tanganyika’ (Supervisors: Kristina M. Sefc, Christian Sturmbauer).
2002-2003 Civil service at the Institute for Blood Transfusion, Clinic Innsbruck, DNA laboratory.
1993-2002 Studies in Biology at the University of Innsbruck, Institute of Zoology.