Felicitas Christaller


My main research interests are in animal behaviour, conservation and evolutionary ecology. In my Master’s thesis I’m using genetic and genomic techniques to conduct a recapture study on Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) to gain a clearer picture about the life history and post weening survival of male pinnipeds. The Antarctic fur seal managed to recover from being hunt down close to extinction but now faces new challenges due to climate change and its consequences. Therefore having a long term overview of how life history traits and adult survival change over the years and by what factors they are driven will help to understand the recovery as well as estimate their future development as a population.

Previous Research and Other Interests

In my Bachelor’s thesis I investigated the genetic structures of different personality selection lines in zebra finches. I used microsatellite data and personality values that were extracted out of different behavioural experiments testing for exploration, aggressiveness and fearlessness. I made a STRUCTURE analysis to check differences over generations and between the selection lines.
Furthermore I worked as a student assistant breeding zebra finches for two years. Doing nest checks and beavioural experiments as well as the video analysis of the experiments.
I also worked on video annotation in buzzards as well as ringing them in the field.
Moreover I did projects on the MC1R receptor in Antarctic fur seals. I also did projects with the department ‘Action and Perception’ and ‘Active sensing’ of the University of Bielefeld on cognition and bimodal integration in humans and electric fish.
In my free time I love walking my dog, traveling, gardening and reading books.


Prof. Dr. Joseph I. Hoffman, University of Bielefeld
A.J. Paijmans, MSc, University of Bielefeld

Curriculum Vitae
  • 2017-Present: MSc “Behaviour: From neural mechanisms to evolution”, University of Bielefeld
  • 2013-2017: BSc Biology, specialization: Behaviour biology, University of Bielefeld


Hoffman, J.I., Bauer, E., Paijmans, A.P., Humble, E., Beckmann, L.M., Kubetschek, C., Christaller, F., Kröcker, N., Fuchs, B., Moreras, A., Shihlomule, Y., Bester, M.N., Cleary, A.C., De Bruyn, P.J.N., Forcada, J., Goebel, M.E., Goldsworthy, S.D., Guinet, C., Hoelzel, A.R., Lydersen, C., Kovaks, K.M., Lowther, A. (2018) A global cline in a colour polymorphism suggests a limited contribution of gene flow towards the recovery of a heavily exploited marine mammal. Royal Society Open Science, 5: 181227.  Doi: 10.1098/rsos.181227. 2

Contact Details

Department of Animal Behaviour
Bielefeld University
Postfach 100131
33501 Bielefeld

email: felicitas.christaller[at]uni-bielefeld.de