Sabine Tebbich

Dept. of Behavioural and Cognitive Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna

Sabine Tebbich (ST) did her PhD in Vienna on tool use in the woodpecker finch followed by post doc positions at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Starnberg. With a Marie Curie Fellowship she went to the University of Cambridge and with a BBSCR Fellowship to the University of St. Andrews where she got a tenure track position. In Cambridge ST did small-group teaching in Zoology and Experimental Psychology; in St Andrews she taught Experimental Psychology before returning in 2008 to the University of Vienna with an Elise Richter Fellowship. Beginning of 2020 ST became Senior Scientist at the Department of Behavioral and Cognitive Biology.

Sabine Tebbich is an internationally recognized expert in avian cognition renowned for her work on avian tool use. She combines field studies and lab-based experiments to address three general questions: (i) which environmental factors could be drivers of animal intelligence (ii) do these factors select for specialized cognitive adaptations? (iii) what are the components, underlying mechanisms and fitness benefits of behavioral flexibility and innovativeness? In order to address questions related to these general topics, she has studied animal behavior at functional, ontogenetic, mechanistic and evolutionary levels and has made important contributions to the field of avian cognition in these domains. STs main model system is the Darwin's finches, which have inspired research on evolutionary questions for centuries and show an exceptionally wide range of feeding innovations but also two large-brained bird families (corvids and parrots) which are particularly innovative. However, ST has also experience in working with other animal taxa and humans.

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