Kurt Kotrschal (KK), Dept. of Behavioural Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
studied Biology at the University of Salzburg where he obtained his PhD in 1981 and became assistant Professor from 1981-1989. He worked as a Erwin-Schrödinger fellow at the Universität of Colorado, Denver (USA). His studies included the evolution of fish and the functioning of the sensory and nervous system. Since 1990 he is head of the Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle (KLF) at Grünau, Austria, and Professor at the Dep. of Behavioural Biology at the University of Austria. Since 2008 he is co-founder of the "Wolf Science Center" first at Grünau, and since 2009 at Ernstbrunn, Austria.
KK has mainly been interested in the relationships between social behaviour and steroid hormones as markers, as well as in causal agents at the interface between decision making and physiology. Much of that relied on the non-invasive analysis of steroid metabolites, which was also employed in investigating how maternal mechanisms (via yolk androgens) modulate individual behavioural phenotypes. In parallel, he was interested in the primate-like complex social organization in birds, notably geese, manifest in female bonding, social support patterns, or being knowledgeable of 3rd-party relationships. Recent research included social learning and social cognition in geese and ravens, including the contingency between “personality” and social roles, socio-cognitive similarities between birds and mammals, human-animal relations, notably human-cat, human-dog and the effects of socializing human children with animals on child development. Most of this research was conducted at the Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle, which was developed into an internationally renowned institution by KK and co-workers over the past 25 years; the human-animal research is mainly conducted in Vienna, the work on wolves and wolf-dog comparisons at the Wolf Science Center in Ernstbrunn. For more information see websites WSC and KLF.