Symposium - "Cold blooded Cognition – Perception, Learning and Behaviour in Amphibians & Reptiles"

Keynote speakers: Kyle Summers (USA) & Enrique Font (Spain)

Studies of cognition and behaviour commonly focus on birds, fish and mammals, while amphibians and reptiles are rather underrepresented in these fields of research. Likely due to this bias they are often considered to have only limited learning capabilities and to display mainly stereotypic behaviours. Thanks to advances in recent research this outdated view is gradually changing, however, our knowledge about behavioural diversity as well as cognitive capabilities in these taxa is still in its infancy. Amphibians represent the most basal tetrapod vertebrate group and particularly their complex and diverse lifestyle – spending parts of their life in water and other parts on land – makes them an extraordinarily interesting group for behavioural studies. Reptiles, on the other hand, hold a crucial position within vertebrates, as they share a common amniotic ancestor with birds and mammals, and comparative studies will thus help to understand the evolution of cognition (from the behavioural to the neuronal level) in vertebrates in general.

Herpetologists from all over the world focus on these fascinating animals, however, studies on amphibians and reptiles are – so far – highly underrepresented at (inter)national conferences on animal behaviour. Thus, in our symposium we want to draw together researchers of all academic levels and thereby create a ‘critical mass’ that accomplishes and stimulates the scientific discussions within the field of animal behaviour and cognition.

We hope that our symposium may also lead to collaborations between different research groups, in order to advance the understanding of the evolution of cognitive abilities in vertebrates.


The European Conference of Behavioural Biology | Universitätsring 1  | 1010 Wien