Dr. Taina Conrad

Dr. Taina Conrad

I have a Phd in Biology and I am researching communication in animals. Furthermore, you can hire me for guided tours, talks, workshops and teamtrainings. More about that on the other pages Outreach and Hire me.

Research interests

Communication in animals can be quite complex and is used in various different contexts such as foraging, mate choice or raising offspring. For us as humans it can be difficult to understand those communication channels so very different from our own. That is probably the reson why, unitil recently, most research has focused on those communication channels we also use. However, a lot of times animals are able to exploit ways of communication entirely different from what we are used to. Vibrational communication is one of these types of communication which fascinates me a lot since so much is still unknown. I am also interested in chemical communication via allomones or kairomones, which subconsciously even affects us as humans.
However, I believe it to be indispensible to not focus solely on one or two aspects in the life of an animal but to see the grand picture. That is why I always conduct behavioral assays and try to include other factors, like genetics, into my studies whenever possible.

Over the course of my studies, my research covered multiple different topics, ranging from vibrational communication in bees to chemical communication in humans. During my masters and my dissertation I studied the mating behavior of the red mason bee, Osmia bicornis, where I investigated which traits of a male the females use to choose a mating partener and how these traits might play a role in speciation. Sexual selection can be a driving force of speciation and a better understanding of this species' communication channels can help understand these processes.

During my teaching of various practical courses (see Teaching I was able to use the time with my students to investigate various interesting questions in different topics like "buzz pollination" in bumblebees or human odor. These projects have always fascinated me and although the short time frame of these courses has so far prohibited any significant breakthrough, I am hopeful that some questions might be answered in the long run.

Cooperating with other researchers is of course at the heart of doing research and has been a big part of my journey so far. I am always excited about new contacts and new project ideas so please feel free to write me. More information on my experience and projects so far can be found under CV.

I am looking forward to continuing my work during a post-doc which will hopefully enable me to branch out to other animal groups and their communication.

Contact: taina.conrad_at_gmx.de
On Research Gate
On LinkedIn
On Xing