Foraging dynamics in natural environments

Dual supervision: Einat Couzin-Fuchs and Ahmed El Hady, Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behavior, University of Konstanz

December 01, 2021

Foraging is a universal, evolutionary conserved, behavior as animals in nature forage in groups across large spaces looking for resources to satisfy their energetic needs. To date, laboratory experiments have been constrained to animals foraging in small spaces and in small groups. There is an increasing evidence that both neural and behavioral dynamics, however, are principally different in natural spatial scales.

The project aims to investigate basic principles underlying forging decisions in large-scale dynamic environments, that mimic natural habitats. We will focus on two very different model organisms, each exhibits different adaptations to foraging under conditions of considerable uncertainty: swarm-forming locusts and rats. The experiments will be performed at the imaging hangar in the visual computing of collective building at Konstanz University. The imaging hangar is the largest indoor animal imaging facility in the world, offering the opportunity to perform foraging experiments at an unprecedented scale. Using patch foraging as a quintessential behavioral paradigm, and a combination of high throughput continuous video tracking and quantitative modeling approaches, we aim to elucidate how foraging strategies are updated in a changing social and physical world.

You will join our interdisciplinary team at the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behaviour and the Excellence Cluster for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour.


• MSc in neuroscience, biology, physics and a clear interest in animal behaviour.

• Quantitative skills. Proficiency in at least one programming language is required (C, Python or Matlab)

Supervisors: Ahmed El Hady ( & Einat Couzin-Fuchs (

The University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Society are equal opportunity employers that are committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or disability. They seek to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage women to apply  (Equal opportunity). Persons with disabilities are explicitly encouraged to apply.

They will be given preference if appropriately qualified (contact +49 7531 88 4016).

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