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Max-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie

The Institute was founded in 1954 and conducts basic research into organismal biology to elucidate the rules underlying biologically meaningful behaviour of the individual organism and in societies. To this end the physiological and genetical basis as well as the population genetics of key behavioural elements are investigated. The general theme is the evolutionary adaptation of animals to their environment. Topics of special interest are: social behaviour, communication and cognitve as well as proto-cultural aspects of animal behaviour. Another important topic is chemical communication, including its physiological and molecular mechanisms. The scientists tackle various aspects of the main topic, from the rules governing the behaviour of the mature functioning organism to the development of individual behaviour and the changes of behaviour during phylogenesis. The Institute is well known for its contributions to the development of fundamental theories and for its innovative field research.

In its second reading in November 1997, the Senate of the Max Planck Society decided to close the Institute on 30 November 1999. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wickler was nominated as acting head of the Institute during the period of liquidation from 1 December 1999 until 30 November 2003. At the same time the Senate decided to continue the ornithological research of the Institute at the newly founded Max Planck Research Centre for Ornithology.


Max-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie

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