Manuel Talarico

PhD Student

Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity
Animal Evolutionary Ecology
Hüfferstraße 1
D-48149 Münster
Tel.: +49 251/83-21092

Nationality: German, ItalianDeIt


  • Since 2013:
    in the Animal Evolutionary Ecology Group, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster, Germany
  • 2006 - 2008:
    Studies in Biology (M.Sc.), University of Münster, Germany
  • 2005 - 2006:
    Studies in Biology (M.Phil.), University of Cambridge, UK
    Master thesis: "Molecular Evolution of Olfactory and Vomeronasal Receptor Genes and Olfactory Communication in Primates", supervisor: Dr. Nick Mundy, University of Cambridge
  • 2002 - 2005:
    Studies in Biology (B.Sc.), University of Münster, Germany
    Bachelor thesis on social support in Guinea pigs, supervisors: Prof. Dr. Norbert Sachser, Prof. Dr. Silvia Kaiser


  • Prof. Joachim Kurtz, Animal Evolutionary Ecology Group, Institute of Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster
  • Dr. Jörn Scharsack, Animal Evolutionary Ecology Group, Institute of Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster
  • Prof. Norbert Sachser, Institute of Neuro- and Behavioural Biology, Department of Behavioural Biology, University of Münster

Research Interests

  • Animal Behaviour
  • Evolution of animal systems
  • Evolutionary Genetics
  • Gene x environment interactions

PhD Project description

Does personality correlate with immune competence?
The three-spined stickleback (G. aculeatus) has long been a model organism. Recently, there has been a growing interest in personality or behavioural syndromes in stickle- backs. Both terms refer to consistent individual differences in the expression of correlated behaviours across time and/ or across contexts (Stamps & Groothuis, 2010). Such a link was reported for aggressive and risk-taking behaviours in several populations of sticklebacks around the world (e.g. Bell & Stamps, 2004). If a population exhibits correlated behaviours, the individuals will differ in their behavioural types: for example, one individual tends to be bolder and more aggressive relative to the others. These various behavioural types might be exposed to infection pressure by parasites in a different manner. Bold, more explorative individuals might encounter higher infection risk, than shy, less explorative individuals. Consequently, a bold individual should have a higher immune activity than a shy individual.

In my PhD-project I'll test if the sticklebacks from Ibbenbürener Aa near Münster exhibit different behavioural types which are consistent across time and/or across contexts? If so, I want to look into the question whether personality is correlated with the immune system, e.g., do bold animals exhibit more immune competence than shy animals? Another aspect will be to elucidate if infection with the cestode Schistocephalus solidus alters the behavioural type of the host consistently?


  • Talarico M, Seifert F, Lange J, Sachser N, Kurtz J & Scharsack JP (2017) Specific manipulation or systemic impairment? Behavioural changes of three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) infected with the tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 71: 36.  10.1007/s00265-017-2265-9 [doi]