|Since 2008:||Research assistant in the department of Ecophysiology and Animal Movement (Prof. M. Wikelski) at the University of Konstanz, Germany|
|Since 2007:||Research Fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama|
|2007-2008:||DFG-Postdoc, Evolutionary Ecology, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research at the Smitshonian Tropical Research Institute|
|2005-2007:||Sales & Marketing representative, NewBehavior AG, Zürich|
|2006:||SNF-Postdoc, Neuroanatomy and Behavior, Institute of Anatomy, University of Zürich, Switzerland|
|2005:||Ph.D., Animal Behavior, Zoological Institute, University of Zürich, Switzerland|
|1999:||MS of Science (Systematics & Ecology), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland|
Current Research Interests
Main topics of interest
Why do animals live in groups?
- Evolution of sociality in mammals
- Social systems and migration
- Mating strategies and mate choice in mammals
- Animal architecture
- Selective pressures on brain evolution
The most important people, who influenced me scientifically were evolutionary biologists and even though an ecologist and taxonomist by training, the fascination with evolutionary mechanisms has never left me. Currently, my main focus is a better understanding of the mechanisms that led to group living, especially in mammals. I’m particularly interested in comparing knowledge gathered from the much better studied temperate zone with tropical systems. I believe this comparison allows us to test many theories we have for the reasons of sociality and mating systems.
Bats, a very species diverse, geographically very widely distributed, but little investigated mammalian order, are an excellent model system for many of my questions.
Implications of long distance migration in the African flying fox, Eidolon helvum (with Dr. Jakob Fahr, University of Ulm). Eidolon helvum is a species that plays an important role for humans and ecosystems in Africa as it is on the one hand a long-distance seed disperser and important source for bush meat, on the other hand it may also be a reservoir for human relevant diseases. Also interesting about this species is that it spends at least half of each year on a long distance migration, during which most of the reprodcutive cycle takes place. In a collaboration with the Ghanian Wildlife Services, veterinaries from the University of Cambridge and the Zoological Society of London we are conducting a GPS-tracking as well as a genetic study to determine the migration route and follow social groups during their yearly cycle. We are also looking at seed dispersal of ecologically relevant tree species by E. helvum.
Reasons for sociality in Noctilio albiventris (with PD Christian Voigt, IZW Berlin), an insect-eating bat, which is an extremely efficient forager and where small female groups live together year round. Bats in the temperate zones only seasonally live in groups and it is generally assumed that costs of group living outweigh the benefits execpt in non-reporductive females. We use N. albiventris as a typical example of a Neotropical species that is social year-round, trying to learn more about the costs and benefits of sociality, mainly focusing on the role of vocal and olfactory communication in this species.
Social system and sympatric speciation in Molossus molossus (with Dr. Kamran Safi, MPI Radolfzell and Dr. Arne Ludwig, IZW Berlin), another Neotropical bat species that lives in stable groups year-round, in this case sexually segregated groups. We are quantifying the costs and benefits of sociality, in particular social foraging. In addition, we are studying the social system and genetics of this species to find mechanisms for sympatric speciation.
- Reasons for sociality in male temperate bats (with Dr. I. Ruczynski, Mammal Research Institute Bialowieza, Poland and Dr. Kamran Safi. MPI Radolfzell)
- Large and small scale movements under the influence of climate change in European bats (with Prof. M. Wikelski (University of Konstanz and MPI Radolfzell), Dr. Irek Ruczynski, Dr. Kamiel Spoelstra and Dr. Kamran Safi (both MPI Radolfzell))
- Adult neurogenesis in the main olfactory bulb of bats (with Manfred Gahr and Moritz Hertel, both MPI Seewiesen and collaborators from Texas, USA).
Peer reviewed articles:
Pape, T., D. Dechmann & M.J. Vonhof (2002). A new species of Sarcofarthiopsis Hall (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) living in roosts of Spix’s disk-winged bat Thyroptera tricolor Spix (Chiroptera) in Costa Rica. Journal of Natural History 36: 991-998.
Dechmann, D.K.N., E. Garbely, G. Kerth & T.W.G. Garner (2002). Highly polymorphic microsatellites for the study of the round-eared bat, Tonatia silvicola (d’Orbigny). Conservation Genetics 3: 455-458.
Dechmann, D.K.N., E.K.V. Kalko & G. Kerth (2004). Ecology of an exceptional roost: energetic benefits could explain why the bat Lophostoma silvicolum roosts in active termite nests. Evolutionary Ecology Research 7: 1037-1050.
Dechmann, D.K.K., E.K.V. Kalko, B. König & G. Kerth (2005). Mating system of a Neotropical roost making bat: the white-throated round-eared bat, Lophostoma silvicolum. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 58:316-325.
Lang A.B., E.K.K. Kalko, H. Römer, C. Bockholdt & D.K.N. Dechmann (2006). Correlated activity relative to the lunar cycle in a predator prey system of bats and katydids. Oecologia 146: 659-666.
Safi, K. & D.K.N. Dechmann (2005). Adaptation of brain regions to habitat complexity: a comparative analysis in bats (Chiroptera). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. 272:172-186.
Kalko, E.K.V., K. Ueberschaer & D.K.N. Dechmann (2006). Roost structure, modification, and availability in the white-throated, round-eared bat, Lophostoma silvicolum (Phyllostomidae) living in active termite nests. Biotropica 38: 1-7.
Safi, K., M.A. Seid & D.K.N. Dechmann (2005). Bigger is not always better – when brains get smaller. Biology Letters 1 (3):283-286.
Dechmann, D.K.N., E.K.V. Kalko & G. Kerth (2007) All-offspring dispersal in a tropical mammal with resource defense polygyny. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 61 (8):1219-1228..
Dechmann, D.K.N., K. Safi & M.J. Vonhof (2006). Matching morphology and diet in the disc-winged bat, Thyroptera tricolor (Chiroptera). Journal of Mammalogy 87(5):1013-1019.
Amrein, I., D.K.N. Dechmann, Y. Winter & H.-P. Lipp (2007). Absent or low rate of adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus of bats (Chiroptera). PLoS ONE 2(5): e455. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000455.
Voigt, C.C.V., D.K.N. Dechmann, J. Bender, B.J. Rinehart, R.H. Michener & T.H. Kunz (2007). Mineral licks attract neotropical seed-dispersing bats. Research Letters in Ecology, 4 pages. doi:10.1155/2007/34212.
Voigt, C.C.V., K.A. Capps, D.K.N. Dechmann, R.H. Michener & T.H. Kunz (2008). Nutrition or detoxification: why bats visit mineral licks of the Amazonian rainforest. PloS ONE 3(4): e2001. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002011.
Dechmann, D.K.N. & K. Safi (2009). A review of comparative studies of brain size with a special focus on bats. Biological Reviews 84(1). doi: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2008.00067.x
Dechmann, D.K.N., S.L. Heucke, L. Giuggioli, K. Safi, C.C. Voigt & M. Wikelski (published online). Exerimental evidence for group hunting via eavesdropping in echolocating bats. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0473
Dechmann, D.K.N., L. John, T. Noventa & C.C. Voigt (accepted). Polymorphic microsatellites for the lesser bulldog bat (Noctilio albiventris) cross-amplify with close and distant relatives. Conservation Genetics Resources: DOI 10.1007/s12686-009-9040-9
Dechmann, D.K.N., S.E. Santana & E.R. Dumont (accepted). Roost making in bats – adaptations for excavating active termite nests. Journal of Mammalogy.
Sack, L. & D. Dechmann. (2003). Design of paradise. Review of „A Magic Web“ by E.G. Leigh Jr. & C. Ziegler. Oxford University Press. 292pp.
Dechmann, D.K.N. & K. Safi (2005). Studying communication in bats. Cognition, Brain, Behavior. 9: 479-496.
Dechmann, D.K.N. & G. Kerth (2008). My home is your castle – roost making is sexually selected in the bat Lophostoma silvicolum. Journal of Mammalogy 89(6):1379-1390.
Kerth, G. & D.K.N. Dechmann (in press). Field based observations and experimental field studies of bat behaviour. In: Ecological and behavioral methods for the study of bats (Kunz, T.H. & and Parsons, S., eds.). 2nd editions. John Hopkins University Press.