Aquatic Ecology & Evolution


About me

I am a behavioural ecologist fascinated by how environmental heterogeneity influences social and mating systems, dispersal patterns, life-histories, and species distribution. My main study systems are highly social fishes from Lake Tanganyika and, more recently, freshwater fishes from perialpine Lakes and associated river systems. I am currently a researcher at the Wyss Academy for Nature, which is affiliated with the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Bern. Here I am working on an interdisciplinary project involving scientists, government agencies and NGOs. The goal of the project is to identify and implement data-driven conservation strategies for freshwater ecosystems that take into account both climate change and human impacts.

Curriculum Vitae

Scientist, co-project manager at Wyss Academy for Nature University of Bern

Associated with the division of Aquatic Ecology at University of Bern and Eawag Swiss Federal Institute for Aquatic Science and Technology

Project: Preventing the loss of biodiversity in water bodies under climate change (Lanat 3)


Postdoc Manchester Metropolitan University, England


PhD in Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern (summa cum laude)

Thesis: Benefits of helping – Investigating social and mating systems of cooperatively breeding fishes


Master of Science in Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern


Bachelor of Science in Biology, University of Bern


Google Scholar

Josi D., Flury J.M., Reyes-Contreras M., Tanaka H., Taborsky M. & Frommen J.G. (2021) Sex-specific routes to independent breeding in a polygynous cooperative breeder. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9: 750483

Josi D., Heg D., Takeyama T., Bonfils D., Konovalov D.A., Frommen J.G., Kohda M. & Taborsky M. (2021) Relatedness, social structure and helping behaviour in the cooperatively breeding cichlid Neolamprologus savoryi. Evolution 75: 2881-2897

Josi D. & Frommen J.G. (2021) Through a glass darkly? Reactions of eight lamprologine cichlid species towards their mirror image in their natural environment. Ethology 127: 925-933

Freudiger A., Josi D., Thünken T., Herder F., Flury J.M., Marques D., Taborsky M. & Frommen J.G. (2021) Ecological variation drives morphological differentiation in a highly social vertebrate. Functional Ecology 35: 2266-2281

Josi D., Freudiger A., Taborsky M. & Frommen J.G. (2020) Experimental predator intrusions in a cooperative breeder reveal task partitioning of group members. Behavioral Ecology 31: 1369-1378

Josi D., Taborsky M. & Frommen J.G. (2020) Investment of group members is contingent on helper number and the presence of young in a cooperative breeder. Animal Behaviour 160: 35-42

Josi D., Taborsky M. & Frommen J.G. (2019) First field evidence for alloparental egg care in cooperatively breeding fish. Ethology 125: 164-169

Josi D., Taborsky M. & Frommen J.G. (2018) Habitat preferences depend on substrate quality in a cooperative breeder. Evolutionary Ecology Research 19: 517-527 (pdf)

Groenewoud F., Frommen J.G., Josi D., Tanaka H., Jungwirth A. and Taborsky M. (2016) Predation risk drives social complexity in cooperative breeders. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 113: 4104-4019

Jungwirth A., Josi D., Walker J. & Taborsky M. (2015): Benefits of coloniality: communal defence saves anti-predator effort in cooperative breeders. Functional Ecology 29: 1218-1224