Das unterschätzte Tier: New book on consequences of our grown knowledge about animals

Das unterschätzte Tier
© Rowohlt Verlag

The way animals are perceived has changed fundamentally over the past decades. Together with MGSE graduates Niklas Kästner and Tobias Zimmermann, MGSE PI Norbert Sachser edited the recently published the book “Das unterschätzte Tier” (“The underestimated animal”) to address the associated societal implications. In the anthology, renowned experts from disciplines as diverse as philosophy, veterinary medicine, law, theology and science of art discuss how much our knowledge about animals has grown and what consequences arise from this for how we treat them – including chapters by MGSE PIs Sylvia Kaiser, Michael Quante, Helene Richter and Norbert Sachser.

Sachser N, Kästner N, Zimmermann T (Hrsg.): Das unterschätzte Tier. Was wir heute über Tiere wissen und im Umgang mit ihnen besser machen müssen. Rowohlt Verlag, 2022.

Interview with Norbert Sachser about the book (NZZ) [de]
Interview with Tobias Zimmermann about the book (WWU wissen|leben) [de]
Book review (FAZ) [de]

New study led by MGSE PIs: Influence of experimenters on results of animal studies less strong than expected

New study led by MGSE PIs: Influence of experimenters on results of animal studies less strong than expected
© WWU - Abteilung für Verhaltensbiologie

For more than ten years, scientists have been discussing the so-called reproducibility crisis: research results often cannot be reproduced later and/or in other laboratories, even though the studies are conducted under standardised conditions. In animal experimental research, one of the top confounding factors leading to non-reproducible results is the person conducting the experiment. A team of behavioural biologists led by Vanessa von Kortzfleisch and the MGSE PIs Helene Richter, Sylvia Kaiser and Norbert Sachser examined the influence of this factor in behavioural experiments with mice at different locations – the results have now been published in PLOS Biology.

To the surprise of the scientists, the influence of the different experimenters on the experimental results was not as pronounced as previous studies had shown. Instead, the laboratory in which the experiment took place played a much greater role than the experimenter. Another finding that was unexpected for the research team was that the largest proportion of the variance was due to so far unexplainable differences between the individual mice. Unexpected for the research team was also the result that the largest proportion of the variance was due to previously unexplained differences between the individual mice.

The results do not rule out that the experimenter may be a decisive factor. However, they do suggest that the different experimental conditions in the laboratories have a much greater influence than the experimenter, despite standardised conditions.

von Kortzfleisch VT, Ambrée O, Karp NA, Meyer N, Novak J, Palme R, Rosso M, Touma C, Würbel H, Kaiser S, Sachser N, Richter SH (2022) Do multiple experimenters improve the reproducibility of animal studies? PLOS Biology 20(5): e3001564

Publication in PLOS Biology
Press release of the WWU

New MGSE Principal Investigator: Dr. Peter Czuppon

Peter Czuppon
© Peter Czuppon

Dr. Peter Czuppon has joined the MGSE as Principal Investigator. Dr. Czuppon is a mathematical and theoretical biologist working at the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity at the University of Münster since 2021. In his research, he focusses on all sorts of applications of stochastic models in biology, mainly in the context of ecology and evolution with some excursions to models of gene regulatory networks and epidemiology. Besides teaching theoretical biology and statistics, he organises the MGSE lecture series "The Growth of the Evolutionary Thought".

We welcome Dr. Czuppon and look forward to extend the already existing cooperations with him.

Website of Dr. Peter Czuppon

Margaux Aubel and Murat Bakırdöven elected as new PhD student representatives

New Student Representatives

Margaux Aubel and Murat Bakırdöven have been elected as new representatives by their fellow PhD students.

We congratulate both of them and wish them all the best in their new roles!