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Dr. Timo Thünken

I am mainly interested in functions and mechanisms of kin discrimination. In particular, my research focuses on kin recognition mechanisms and the operation of kin selection in different contexts ranging from juvenile shoaling over intra-sexual competition to mate-choice and parental care. As model system I use Pelvicachromis taeniatus, a socially monogamous cichlid fish with intense biparental brood care from West Africa. The unusual kin mating preferences in this species provide the possibility to examine the ecological and genetic requirements for adaptive inbreeding. In this context, also levels of inbreeding in natural populations using microsatellites are estimated.

Pelvicachromis taeniatus 

A further research focus lies on the function of (especially female) conspicuous body colouration in sexual selection and the evolution of sperm traits in Pelvicachromis taeniatus.

Moreover, I am interested in predator-induced behavioural and morphological plasticity (based on chemical cues) as well as in host/parasitic interactions in gammarids and their acanthocephalan parasites.
 
Thünken Lab - Evolutionary Behavioral Ecology of Cichlid Fishes

Current lab members (2019)

  • Dr. Denis Meuthen (Postdoc, DFG Rückkehrstipendium)

  • Simon Vitt (research assistance)

  • Jenny Hiller (Master of Education)

  • Barbara Schiffer (Master OEP)

  • Leonie John (Master OEP)

  • Iris Pimentel (Master OEP)

  • Rieke Schons (Master OEP)

  • Melissa Karthe (Bachelor Biology)

  • Janosch Diederich (Bachelor Biology)

  • Sophia Fiegel (Bachelor Biology)

  • Lisa Nennstiel (Bachelor Biology)

Current cooperation partners

  • Prof Dr. Theo Bakker, University of Bonn

  • Dr. Ingolf Rick, University of Bonn

  • Dr. Joachim Frommen, University of Bern

  • Dr. Julia Schwarzer, ZFMK, Bonn

Former students:

  • Ndubuisi Durueke (Master OEP)

  • Rieke Schons (Bachelor Biology)

  • Christine Jakubassa (Bachelor Biology)

  • Natalie Kurtys (Bachelor Biology)

  • Meike Kurth (Master OEP)

  • Tamara Gademann (Bachelor Biology)

  • Tina Jung (Bachelor Biology)     

Research projects on P. taeniatus

  • Ongoing: Inbreeding as driving force in evolution (DFG grant to T. Thünken)
    Head: Dr. Timo Thünken
    See current lab members
  • Causes and consequences of predator-induced phenotypic plasticity
    (DFG grant to T. Bakker, T. Thünken, S. Baldauf)
    Heads: Prof. Theo Bakker and Dr. Timo Thünken
    PhD student: Denis Meuthen
    Master students: Natalie Müller                                                                    
  • Ecology of kin-biased behaviour (DFG grant to T. Thünken)
    Head: Dr. Timo Thünken
    PhD student:  Saskia Hesse (PhD supervisor: Prof. Theo Bakker)
    Master students: Sarah Schroers, Jaime Mauricio Anaya-Rojas
  • Impact of genetic relatedness and female coloration on mutual mate choice in Pelvicachromis taeniatus (Cichlidae) III (DFG grant to T. Bakker and H. Kullmann)
    Head: Prof. Theo Bakker
    Project coordination: Dr. Timo Thünken (Post Doc)
    Post Doc: Dr. Sebastian Baldauf
    PhD students: Sebastian Baldauf, Kathrin Langen
    Master students: Kathrin Langen, Saskia Hesse, Denis Meuthen, Stephanie Schroth, Janine Schmidt, Tobias Ottenheym
  • Impact of genetic relatedness and female coloration on mutual mate choice in Pelvicachromis taeniatus (Cichlidae), phase I+II (DFG grant to T. Bakker and H. Kullmann)
    Heads: Prof. Theo Bakker and Dr. Harald Kullmann
    PhD student/establishment of P. taeniatus as model system: Timo Thünken
    Master students: Sebastian Baldauf, Nadine Waltschyk

 

PhD thesis:


  • Thünken, T. (2008). On mate choice, kin recognition and the adaptive significance of inbreeding in the cichlid fish Pelvicachromis taeniatus. PhD-thesis, University of Bonn, Germany.

Diploma thesis:


  • Thünken, T. (2002). Einfluß der Anwesenheit eines paarungsbereiten Männchens auf den Verpaarungserfolg eines Nestbesitzers beim Dreistachligen Stichling (Gasterosteus aculeatus L.): Eine experimentelle Freilanduntersuchung. Diploma-thesis, University of Bonn, Germany.


 Publications:

  • Thünken, T., Hesse, S. &  Meuthen, D. Increased levels of perceived competition decrease juvenile kin-shoaling preferences in a cichlid fish. Am. Nat.
 accepted
  • Meuthen, D., Baldauf, S.A., Bakker T.C.M. & Thünken, T. High perceived predation risk during development affects mutual mate choice in a cichlid fish. Anim. Behav.

 accepted
  •  Meuthen, D., Bakker T.C.M. & Thünken, T. Predatory developmental environments shape loser behaviour in animal contests. Behaviour
published online
  • Hesse, S., Sandmann, S., Bakker, T.C.M. & Thünken, T. (2019). Impact of social rearing-environment on performance in a complex maze in females of a cichlid fish. Behav. Process. 167: 103915.
     
  • Thünken, T.,Baldauf, S.A., Bersau, N., Frommen, J.G. & Bakker, T.C.M. (2019). Parasite-induced colour alteration of intermediate hosts increases ingestion by suitable final host species. Behaviour
published online
  • Langen, K, Thünken, T., Klemm, J, Sandmann, S. & Bakker, T.C.M. (2019). Sperm size is negatively related to relative testis size in West African riverine cichlid fishes. Sci. Nat. 106: 30.
in press
  • Thünken, T., Rick, I. P., & Frommen, J.G. (2018). Contributions in honour of Theo CM Bakker: Testing, not guessing. Evol. Ecol. Res. 19: 477-486.
pdf upon request
  • Meuthen, D., Flege, P., Brandt, R., & Thünken, T. (2018). The location of damage-released alarm cues in a cichlid fish. Evol. Ecol. Res. 19: 517-527.
pdf upon request
  • Thünken, T., Vitt, S., Baldauf, S.A., Jung, T., & Frommen, J.G. (2018). Individual behavioural responses of an intermediate host to a manipulative acanthocephalan parasite and the effects of intra-specific parasite competition. Evol. Ecol. Res. 19: 487-501.
pdf upon request
  • Mehlis-Rick, M., Thünken, T., Krings, M., Käfer, S., & Rick, I. P. (2018). Cerebral lateralization and quantity discrimination abilities in the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Evol. Ecol. Res. 19: 477-486.
pdf upon request
  • Meuthen, D., Baldauf, S. A., Bakker, T. C. M. & Thünken, T. (2018). Neglected patterns of variation in phenotypic plasticity: Age- and sex-specific antipredator plasticity in a cichlid fish. Am. Nat.191: 475-590.
pdf upon request
  • Langen, K., Bakker, T. C. M., Baldauf, S.A., Shrestha, J. & Thünken, T. (2017). Effects of aging and inbreeding on the reproductive traits in a cichlid fish I: the male perspective. Biol. J. Linn. Soc.120: 752-761.
pdf upon request
  • Langen, K., Bakker, T. C. M., Baldauf, S.A., Shrestha, J. & Thünken, T. (2017). Effects of aging and inbreeding on the reproductive traits in a cichlid fish II: the female perspective. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 120: 762-770.
pdf upon request
  • Bakker, T. C. M., Frommen, J. G. & Thünken, T. (2017). Adaptive parasitic manipulation as exemplified by acanthocephalans. Ethology 123: 779-784.
pdf upon request
  • Meuthen, D., Baldauf S. A., Bakker, T. C. M. & Thünken, T. (2016). Conspecific alarm cues affect interspecific aggression in cichlid fishes. Hydrobiologia 767: 37-49.
pdf upon request
  • Hesse, S., Bakker, T. C. M., Baldauf, S. A. & Thünken, T. (2016). Impact of social environment on inter- and intra-sexual selection in a cichlid fish with mutual mate choice. Anim. Behav. 111: 85-92.
pdf upon request
  • Thünken, T., Hesse, S., Bakker, T. C. M. & Baldauf, S. A. (2016). Benefits of kin shoaling in a cichlid fish: familiar and related juveniles show better growth. Behav. Ecol. 27: 419-425.
pdf upon request
  • Meuthen, D., Baldauf S. A., Bakker, T. C. M. & Thünken, T. (2016). Predator-induced neophobia in juvenile cichlids. Oecologia 181: 947-958.
pdf upon request
  • Hesse, S., Anaya-Rojas J. M., Frommen, J. G. & Thünken, T. (2015). Kinship reinforces cooperative predator inspection in a cichlid fish. J. Evol. Biol. 28: 2088–2096.
pdf upon request
  • Frommen, J. G., Hanak, S., Schmidl, C. A. & Thünken, T. (2015). Visible Implant Elastomer tagging influences social preferences of zebrafish (Danio rerio). Behaviour 152: 1765–1777.
pdf upon request
  • Mehlis, M., Thünken, T., Bakker, T. C. M. & Frommen, J. G. (2015). Quantification acuity in spontaneous shoaling decisions of three-spined sticklebacks. Anim. Cogn. 18: 1125-1131.
pdf upon request
  • Hesse, S., Anaya-Rojas, J. M., Frommen, J. G. & Thünken, T. (2015). Social deprivation affects cooperative predator inspection in a cichlid fish. Roy. Soc. Open Sci. 2: 140451.
open access
  • Hesse, S. & Thünken, T. (2014). Growth and social behavior in a cichlid fish are affected by social rearing environment and kinship. Naturwissenschaften 101: 273–283.
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  • Thünken, T., Eigster, M. & Frommen, J. G. (2014). Context-dependent group size preferences in large shoals of three-spined stickleback. Anim. Behav. 90: 205-210.
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  • Thünken, T., Bakker, T. C. M. & Baldauf, S. A. (2014). “Armpit effect” in an African cichlid fish: self-referent kin recognition in mating decisions of male Pelvicachromis taeniatus. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 68: 99-104.
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  • Langen, K., Thünken, T. & Bakker, T. C. M. (2013). No experimental evidence for sneaking behaviour in a West African cichlid with extremely long sperm. Int. J. Evol. Biol. 2013: 714304.
open access
  • Baldauf, S. A., Engqvist, L., Ottenheym, T., Bakker, T. C. M. & Thünken, T. (2013). Sex-specific conditional mating preferences in a cichlid fish: implications for sexual conflict. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 67: 1179-1186.
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  • Meuthen, D., Rick, I.P., Thünken, T. & Baldauf S. A. (2012). Visual prey detection by near-infrared cues in a fish. Naturwissenschaften 99: 1063-1066.
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  • Meuthen, D., Baldauf S. A. & Thünken, T. (2012). Evolution of alarm cues: a role for kin selection?. F1000 Research 1: 27.
open access
  • Hesse, S., Bakker, T. C. M., Baldauf, S. A. & Thünken, T. (2012). Kin recognition by phenotype matching is family-rather than self-referential in juvenile cichlid fish. Anim. Behav. 84: 451-457.
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  • Thünken, T., Meuthen, D., Bakker, T. C. M. & Baldauf, S. A. (2012). A sex-specific trade-off between mating preferences for genetic compatibility and body size in a cichlid fish with mutual mate choice. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 279: 2959-2964.
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  • Langen, K., Schwarzer, J., Kullmann, H., Bakker, T. C. M. & Thünken, T. (2011). Microsatellite support for active inbreeding in a cichlid fish. PLoS One 6: e24689.
open access
  • Meuthen, D., Baldauf, S. A., Bakker, T. C. M. & Thünken, T. (2011). Substrate-treated water: A method to enhance fish activity in laboratory experiments. Aquatic Biol. 13: 35-40.
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  • Baldauf, S. A., Kullmann, H., Bakker, T. C. M. & Thünken, T. (2011). Female nuptial coloration and its adaptive significance in a mutual mate choice system. Beh. Ecol. 22: 478-485.
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  • Thünken, T., Baldauf, S. A., Kullmann, H., Schuld, J., Hesse, S. & Bakker, T. C. M. (2011). Size-related inbreeding preference and competitiveness in male Pelvicachromis taeniatus (Cichlidae). Beh. Ecol. 22: 358–362.
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  • Frommen, J. G. , Herder, F., Engqvist, L., Mehlis, M., Bakker, T. C. M., Schwarzer, J. & Thünken, T. (2011). Costly plastic morphological responses to predator specific odour cues in three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Evol. Ecol. 25: 641-656.
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  • Baldauf, S. A., Bakker, T. C. M., Herder, F., Kullmann, H. & Thünken, T. (2010). Male mate choice scales female ornament allometry in a cichlid fish. BMC Evol. Biol. 10: 301.
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  • Thünken, T., Baldauf, S. A., Bersau, N., Bakker, T. C. M., Kullmann, H. & Frommen, J. G. (2010). Impact of olfactory non-host predator cues on aggregation behaviour and activity in Polymorphus minutus infected Gammarus pulex. Hydrobiologia 654: 137-145.
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  • Thünken, T., Meuthen, D., Bakker, T. C. M. & Kullmann, H. (2010). Parental investment in relation to offspring quality in the biparental cichlid fish, Pelvicachromis taeniatus. Anim. Behav. 80: 69-74.
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  • Baldauf, S. A., Kullmann, H., Schroth, S. H., Thünken, T. & Bakker, T. C. M. (2009). You can't always get what you want: size assortative mating by mutual mate choice as a resolution of sexual conflict. BMC Evol. Biol. 9: 129.
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  • Baldauf, S. A., Kullmann, H., Thünken, T., Winter, S. & Bakker, T. C. M. (2009). Computer animation as a tool to study preferences in the cichlid fish Pelvicachromis taeniatus. J. Fish Biol. 75: 738–746.
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  • Thünken, T., Bakker, T. C. M., Waltschyk, N. & Kullmann, H. (2009). Olfactory self-recognition in a cichlid fish. Anim. Cogn. 12: 717-724.
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  • Kullmann, H., Thünken, T., Baldauf, S. A., Bakker, T. C. M. & Frommen, J. G. (2008). Fish odour triggers conspecific attraction behavior in an aquatic invertebrate. Biol. Lett. 4: 458-460.
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  • Thünken, T., Bakker, T. C. M., Baldauf, S.A. & Kullmann, H. (2007). Direct familiarity does not alter mating preferences for sisters in male Pelvicachromis taeniatus (Cichlidae). Ethology 113: 1107-1112.
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  • Thünken, T., Bakker, T. C. M. & Kullmann, H. (2007). Extraordinarily long sperm in the socially monogamous cichlid fish Pelvicachromis taeniatus. Naturwissenschaften 94: 489-491.
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  • Thünken, T., Bakker, T. C. M., Baldauf, S. A. & Kullmann, H. (2007). Active inbreeding in a cichlid fish and its adaptive significance. Curr. Biol. 17: 225-229.
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  • Baldauf, S. A., Thünken, T., Frommen, J. G., Bakker, T. C. M., Heupel, O. & Kullmann, H. (2007). Infection with an acanthocephalan manipulates an amphipod's reaction to a fish predator's odours. Int. J. Parasitol. 37: 61-65.
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