Research and Station Manager


PhD Students

MSc Students

Research and Station Manager

Gidas Lemonnier, Scientific Manager: Since 2018, Gildas joined the striped mouse project. He is permanently employed as a research engineer by the CNRS in Strasbourg, France. Every year he spends several months in Goegap, coordinating data collection and managing the respirometry laboratory.

The research manager is responsible for the scientific projects running at the station and that we know at all times all mice that are present at the field site. The current research manager is Florian Droaurd (August 2017 to October 2018), who is doing an excellent job. Milena Zduniac was the research manager from October 2016 until September 2017. During that period she studied the micro-climate of basking spots from striped mice: they  bask at spots that are somewhat warmer than the surrounding. From November 2015 until November 2016 the research manager was Jessica Mulvey, who measured organ sizes in striped mice. Surprisingly, organ sizes do not differ a lot between the dry and the moist season.

The station manager is responsile for the technical aspects of the research startion and running the respirometry laboratory. Together with the reseacrh manager he has to make sure that we know at all times which mice are present at the field site. The current research manager is Richard Askew (October 2017-October 2018). Jörg Jäger joined the research station in 2015 as research assistant for the project eco-physiology of cognition before be became the station manager from 2016 to 2017. As station manager, he especially worked on the question how resting metabolic rate is related to personality.


Research station manager: From 2006 until 2015 we had only one manager. Ivana Schoepf was the first research station manager from July 2006 to June 2007, when she started a PhD at the striped mouse which she finished in 2013. Aftewards she remained for 2 more years in Goegap until 2015 as postdoc.Maarten Bleeker from the Netherlands staid from May 2007 to April 2008 as research station manager and was followed by Ed Yuen who was the reserach station manager from May 2008 until 2015. In 2015 he left the research station to finish his PhD about personality in striped mice at the University of the Witwatersrand.




Dr. CÚline Rochais: Eco-Physiology of Cognition.

Postdoc paid by the University of the Witwatersrand. Celine joined the striped mouse project in 2018 for two years as a postdoc, continuing research on the topic of eco-physiology of cognition.


Dr. Pauline Vuarin: Eco-Physiology of Cognition.

Postdoc paid by the National Research Foundation South Africa. Pauline joined the striped mouse project in 2017 for two years as a postdoc, doing research on the effects of the dry season on sociaity and survival.


Dr. Rebecca Rimbach: Reducing Daily Energy Expenditure as an Adaptive Response to Droughts.

Postdoc paid by the University of the Witwatersrand and later by the Claude-Leon Foundation. Rebecca started in June 2014, using the doubly labelled water technique to measure daily energy expenditure in striped mice. She wants to know in how far striped mice can reduce their energy spendings during the dry season, and in how far this is acchieved by reducing RMR and behavioral activity.


Dr. Audrey Maille: Eco-Physiology of Cognition

Postdoc funded by USIAS (University of Strasbourg Institute of Advanced Sciences). She worked from Septembert 2012 to August 2015 at the striped mouse project, studying in how far basic cognitive traits are influenced by physiological adaptation to droughts as well as seasonal changes in cognitive perfornance. She now works at the Museum National d`Histoire Naturelle in Paris.

Dr. Ivana Schoepf: Adaptation to droughts; social flexibility

Postdoc paid by the NRF (National Research Foundation South Africa; Swiss National Science Foundation, SKRS fellowship). She worked as postdoc from August 2012 until July 2013. She studies costs of adaptation to droughts and the influence of reproductive competition on social flexibility.

Dr. Karine Salin: Allostasis and reactive scope

Postdoc paid for one year by the NRF (National Research Foundation South Africa; grant to Dr. N. Pillay), worked for 8 months in 2012-2013, studying in how far the health status of striped mice changed in the dry season.

Dr. Davina Hill:Alternative reproductive tactics in female striped mice.

Davina won a National Research Foundation (NRF, South Africa) Freestanding Fellowship (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg) to investigate social and reproductive behaviour in female striped mice (2010-2012). Her project involved fieldwork at Goegap, hormone assays, laboratory experiments and analysis of long-term data. She showed that female striped mice that go on use a solitary breeding tactic differ in body mass and hormone profiles from those that subsequently breed in groups. At the end of 2012 Davina joined Scotland's Rural College to take up her current position as Quantitative Animal Scientist.


PhD Students

Ed Yuen: Personality in African striped mice.

Ed did not only work as research station manager from 2008 to 2015, but he also collects data on personality traits in striped mice since 2008. In 2014 he registered as a PhD student at the University of the Witwatersrand where he got his PhD in 2016.

Julien Raynaud: Physiological and Behavioural Flexibility in African Striped Mice: Testosterone and Environmental Influences

Julien started his PhD in January 2010 and had his defennse in April 2013 at the University of Zurich. The causality between hormones and alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) is poorly understood. He studied the role of testosterone in the physiology, morphology, and behaviour of males of different ARTs. He further showed that environmental factors are crucial in the regulation of hormonal changes, indicating a complex relationship between hormones and environment in the regulation of ARTs.In 2010 he spent 8 months in Goegap.

Ivana Schoepf: Environmental Causes and Physiological Consequences of Social Flexibility: a Field Study in the African Striped Mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio)

Ivana started her PhD (paid by the Swiss National Science Foundation) in September 2007 and had her defense in May 2013 at the University of Zurich. Her PhD was about the ecological reasons and endocrine mechanisms of group living in striped mice. She tested experimentally in how far reproductive competition and population density influence the social system in striped mice. For this she reduced locally population density and found striped mice to use the empty space to become solitary living, but only during the breeding season. By taking blood samples before and after mice switched their social tactic she showed the influence of hormones on social behavior.

Melanie Schubert:The Social System of the Round-Eared Sengi (Macroscelides proboscideus)

From the University of Bayreuth (Germany). She collected data from 2005 to 2008 for her PhD about the reasons of monogamy in elephant shrews. She left Goegap in January 2008 and since then writes her PhD thesis in Bayreuth. PhD thesis as PDF.


MSc Students

Paul Agnani: Metabolism, performance and personality of the bush Karoo rat. 2018, University of Ottawa, Canada.


Sthandiwe Nomthandazo Kanyile: Bachelor groups in striped mice. 2017, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.


Fabian Freuler: Inverse modelling in practice: Impact of body size on striped mouse demography. 2017, University of Zurich, Switzerland.


Cloe R. Nater: Demography of female striped mice. 2014, University of Zurich, Switzerland.


Patrick Brunner: Individual recognition in striped mice.2014, University of Zurich, Switzerland.


Remco Willigenburg: Activity patterns during the dry season. 2012, HAS Den Bosch: University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands.


Melissa Schollen: Basking behavior in striped mice in the dry season. 2012, HAS Den Bosch: University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands.

John Maye: Basking behavior in striped mice.

From the Queens University BelfastBasel collected data for his MSc thesis from February to April 2011.

Marta Wastawino: Differences in activity budgets and social behaviours of three male alternative reproductive tactics in the African striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio)

From the University of Basel collected data for her MSc thesis from August to December 2009. She studied differences in social behavior and activity budgets between males following three alternative tactics. Diploma thesis as PDF.

Nils Solmsen: From the University of Mainz collected data for his diploma thesis from August to November 2008.  He studies population genetics in striped mice, especially gene flow along the dry riverbed of our field site and in how far different striped mouse populations in Goegap are isolated.

Sarah Weick: From the University of Mainz collected data for her diploma thesis from August to November 2008. She studies multiple paternities in striped mice and whether these occur more often in single breeding, solitary living females, than in comunally breeding females who a defended by a territorial male.

David Lehmann: From the University of Zurich collected data for his MSc thesis from January to September in Goegap. He studied the advantages of striped mice sharing a nest at night regarding increased vigilance towards potential predators. He will submit his thesis end of January 2009. Download his MSc thesis here.

Gebriela Schmohl: From the University of Zurich collected data for her MSc thesis from July 2007 to January 2008 in Goegap. She studied the different factors influencing home range size of female striped mice by doing experiments and descriptive studies in Goegap. Download her MSc thesis here !

Melanie Schubert: From the University of Bayreuth (Germany). She already worked as a field assistant in Goegap for three months in 2002. In 2004 she studied female reproductive strategies of striped mice during her diploma thesis. Communal nesting is common in the striped mouse and Melanie wanted to know which factors are responsible for this. Diploma thesis as PDF.

Christina Keller: From the University of Münster, Germany. Christina spent three months as field assistant in Goegap in 2003. Back in 2004, she studied the relationship between plant and small mammal biodiversity. As small mammals are the main predators of plants in Goegap, one could imagine that they have a significant impact on them and the composition of plant communities. Christina trapped and marked small mammals at ten different sites in Goegap and determined the number of plant species growing there. She found a highly significant relationship between small mammal and plant biodiversity. During her work she also discovered two species of small mammals that had not been recorded before in Goegap. Diploma thesis as PDF.

Carola Schneider: From the University of Münster (Germany). Carola spent three months as field assistant in Goegap in 2003. In 2004 she studied the male reproductive strategies of striped mice, asking many questions: Does male aggression increase during the breeding season? Answer: No! Do males patrol their territory boundaries? Answer: Yes! When are males group living, when are they roaming (visiting several females during different nights)? Answer: Depends on the distribution and availability of females. Diploma thesis as PDF.


Gildas Lemonnier worked in the subartic before he joined the striped mouse project in 2017.

Jessica Mulvey (here wtith the field assistant Jonathan Gilbert in February 2016) is since November 2015 the research manager.


Jörg Jäger is since November 2015 the station manager.


Ed Yuen and Ivana Schoepf in 2009 (togther with our daughter Zora)


Dr. Rebecca Rimbach joined the striped mouse project in 2014 as postdoc. Here you see her woking in the isotope laboratiry in Strasbourg, to measure daily energy expenditure in striped mice.



Dr. Audrey Maille joined the striped mouse project in 2013 as postdoc, studying eco-physiology of cognition.


In the hormone laboratory in Zurich in 2011. In front Dr. Davina Hill, postdoc from the Witwatersrand, behind the 2 PhD students Ivana Schoepf and Julien Raynaud, and Dr. Carsten Schradin.


Everybody who ever worked with triped mice knows that they have personality. Here an especially bold individual (photo: Ed Yuen)

Julien during his field work in 2010.





































































Christina Keller (witht Philipp Widmann.)
Carola Schneider