Cognition in fish and reptiles

We are interested in the cognitive abilities of fish and reptiles on a behavioral and neural level. Experimental species are grey bamboo sharks, freshwater stingrays, Malawi cichlids and the New Guinea snapping turtle.

Most researchers study either the cognitive behavior of fish or fish neuroanatomy, but few combine both fields and even fewer do so in a comparative approach, looking at both teleosts and elasmobranchs. My lab thereby addresses detailed structure-function relationships and the growing need for the identification of brain structures involved in the processing of cognitive tasks in fishes, located both within and outside of the telencephalon. The behavioral, neuroanatomical, and immunohistochemical work combined enabel us to get a much better and more detailed picture of the intricate processes that are involved in fish cognition and to gain a more holistic understanding of what fish cognition specifically entails.

Similar to fish or possibly even more so, reptiles have largely been overlooked when it comes to assessing their cognitive abilities. In the last five years we have made a significant head start looking at the cognitive abilities of Branderhorst’s snapping turtle , a species that is highly motivated in behavioural learning tasks.

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Lab Members


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PD Dr. Vera Schluessel

Raum 2.014, Poppelsdorfer Schloss

Meckenheimer Allee 169

53115 Bonn

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