Marc René Steinegger

Domaines de recherche


Animal behaviour, marine biosphere, fish diversity and different aquaticecosystems have been major interests of mine for many years.

In my Master thesis I investigated the influence of body condition on the solution of sexual conflict about parental investment in the biparental cichlid Eretmodus cyanostictus. In a lab experiment I tested how parental investment and the performance of female display behaviour changed in connection with different food treatments. E. cyanostictus males took over the young later and incubated the clutch for shorter periods under limited food conditions. At the same time, no effect of food limitation on the length of female incubation period was detected, apart from that they signalled their readiness to shift more intensely. My results suggested that males adjust their incubation share to their own body condition, but do not respond to their mate's condition and increased levels of female display behaviour.

In my Ph.D thesis I investigate the function, mechanisms and ontogeny of collaborative hunting in the yellow saddle goatfish (Parupeneus cyclostomus).

Yellow saddle goatfish are the first fish species described as collaborative hunters where individuals play different roles during a hunt ('chasers' and 'blockers'), and they encircle prey hiding in coral crevices and try to pry it out by inserting their barbels. I have designed an experimental setup where the goatfish will be confronted with mobile invertebrate prey hiding in a tunnel system. Cameras that are installed above and below will allow me to conduct detailed behavioural analyses

1) to test the relationship between group size and hunting success,
2) to find out whether the cooperation is a by-product of self-regarding behaviour or proper reciprocity based on mutual investments.

The laboratory experiments will be complemented with field observations on yellow goatfish of all size classes. I will describe their foraging techniques in detail in order to document any changes in the complexity of coordination with other individuals during the ontogeny. I consider it likely to find significant changes as yellow goatfish change their diet during ontogeny, switching from invertebrate prey to fishes. 



since 2008 PhD-thesis
Behavioural Ecology
Supervisor Prof. Redouan Bshary
Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2004-2005 Master-thesis
Behavioural Ecology
Supervisors: Prof. Michael Taborsky and Dr. Barbara Taborsky
University of Bern, Switzerland
2003/2004 Erasmus Programme
in Biology
University of Madrid, Spain
2002 Research assistant
of Prof. Heinz Richner and Dr. Pierre Bize
Department of Evolutionary Ecology,
University of Berne, Switzerland
Fieldwork in an Alpine swift (Apus melba) colony
2000-2003 Undergraduate studies 
University of Berne, Switzerland









Marc René Steinegger

Assistant doctorant




Room: D 126


Université de Neuchâtel

Institut de Biologie
Rue Emile-Argand 11
CH-2000 Neuchâtel

Tel. +41 32 718 31 52
Fax +41 32 718 30 01

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