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Linus Günther

Exploring the evolution of social, reproductive, and dispersal behaviour in bats


About me

I am a behavioural ecologist fascinated about key live history traits of social animals – such as individual social roles, reproductive tactics and dispersal behaviour. Particularly, I am keen to understand the evolutionary development of these traits and the involved behaviours. To explore this, bats are perfect models as they exhibit an extraordinary high diversity in complex social structures and mating systems as well as derived social and reproductive behaviours.


I hold scientific expertise in behavioural ecology, sociobiology and molecular ecology of bats. By combining genetics, behavioural biology, ecology and evolution, I conduct my interdisciplinary research on Neotropical bats in Costa Rica and temperate bats in Germany.

About me

Ongoing project:

The evolution of natal dispersal patterns and mating systems

This project aims to contribute to our understanding of the evolution of natal dispersal patterns and mating systems by studying proboscis bats (Rhynchonycteris naso) – a bat with an exceptional natal dispersal pattern among mammals and contrasting male reproductive tactics within a single day–night cycle.

Upcoming project:

The influence of animal personality on male reproductive tactics of social mammals

In this project I will investigate how and to which degree personality may promote variation in male reproductive tactics and the resulting individual reproductive success in group-living nectar-feeding Pallas's long-tonged bats (Glossophaga soricina).


Ripperger S, Günther L, Wieser H, Duda N, Hierold M, Cassens B, Kapitza R, Koelpin A, Mayer F (2019). Proximity sensors on common noctule bats reveal evidence that mothers guide juveniles to roosts but not food. Biology Letters 15, 20180884.

Wieser H, Günther L, Mayer F & Ripperger S (2018). Temperature profiles of different bat boxes in an urban habitat (Königsheideforst, Berlin). Nyctalus (in press).

Wilkinson GS, Carter GG, Bohn KM, Caspers B, Chaverri G, Farine D, Günther L, Kerth G, Knörnschild M, Mayer F, Nagy M, Ortega J, Patriquin K (2019). Kinship, association and social complexity in bats. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.


Wilde LR, Günther L, Mayer F, Knörnschild M & Nagy M (2018). Thermoregulatory requirements shape mating opportunities of male proboscis bats. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 6.

Ripperger S, Günther L, Wieser H, Duda N, Hierold M, Casses B, Kapitza R, Kölpin A & Mayer F (2018). Proximity sensors reveal social information transfer in maternity colonies of common noctule bats. bioRxiv, 421974.


Günther L, Knörnschild M, Nagy M+ & Mayer F+ (2017). The evolution of a rare mammalian trait – benefits and costs of male philopatry in proboscis bats. Scientific Reports, 7, 15632. (+joint senior authors)


Günther L, Lopez MD, Knörnschild M, Reid K, Nagy M+ & Mayer F+ (2016). From resource to female defence: the impact of roosting ecology on a bat’s mating strategy. Royal Society Open Science, 3, 160503. (+joint senior authors)


Nagy M, Knörnschild M, Günther L, & Mayer F (2014). Dispersal and social organization in the Neotropical Grey sac-winged bat Balantiopteryx plicata. Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, 68(6), 891-901.


Nagy M*, Günther L*, Knörnschild M & Mayer F (2014). Female-biased dispersal in a bat with a female-defence mating strategy. Molecular Ecology, 22(6), 1733-1745. (*joint first authors)

Hillen J, Angetter L-S, Günther L & Molitor F (2010). Habitatnutzung einer Kolonie der Bechsteinfledermaus (Myotis bechsteinii) im NSG 'Wawerner Bruch'. Dendrocopos, 37, 19-42.

Scienific Career

Scientific Career

Postdoctoral Researcher at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (funded by the Museum's Innovation fund).

03/2018 – 08/2018

Research Assistant at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin in the BATS-Projekt (Betriebsadaptive Tracking-Sensorsysteme) of the DFG Forschergruppe FOR 1508.

07/2016 – 12/2016


08/2017 – 01/2018

Dissertation in Biology (Dr. rer. nat.) at Humboldt University of Berlin (funded by the Elsa-Neumann-Fellowship). Thesis title: Female-biased dispersal in proboscis bats (Rhynchonycteris naso) – Evolutionary drivers for an exceptional mammalian trait. Grade: magna cum laude (second highest distinction).

08/2012 – 09/2017

Diploma in Biogeography, Geobotany, Ecotoxicology and Soil Science at University of Trier. Thesis title: Die weibliche natale Abwanderung und männliche Geburtstortstreue sowie das Paarungsverhalten und die Sozialstruktur der neotropischen Nasenfledermaus Rhynchonycteris naso (Emballonuridae). Grade: 1.0 (highest distinction).

10/2005 – 02/2012

complete CV here

klick on pictures for

personal webpages

ongoing Collaborations

upcoming Collaborations


Dr. Simon Ripperger

Postdoc in the Mayer Lab at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin


Dr. Martina Nagy

Postdoc in the Knörnschild Lab at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin


PD Dr. Mirjam Knörnschild

Heisenberg Fellow and group leader at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin


Dr. Melanie Dammhahn

Senior researcher in the Animal Ecology Group at University of Potsdam


Prof. Dr. York Winter

Professor for Cognitive Neurobiology and group leader at Humboldt University Berlin


Dr. Vladislav Nachev

Postdoc in the Winter Lab at Humboldt University Berlin

Public Outreach & Media

Fotos obtained from

Salon Fähig (Science Varietee)

Salon Fähig is a series of events organised and hosted by Ines Theileis. In Each show she invites specialists to present their insights in specific fields or topics. The knowledge transfer is combined with live music, acrobatics and vivid discussions. Thus, well-founded content is presented here in a pleasing way for everybody.

In Salong Fähig #2 my colleague Simon Ripperger and me talked about our research and bats in general.

Musik: David KLIX

Public Outreach


"Kieznerds" took place for the first time on April 14th, 2018 on the occasion of the anniversary of the Berlin March for Science: 37 scientists talked with their neighbors and curious visitors. In 25 cafés, restaurants, bars and other locations in Berlin and Potsdam, they presented their research and discussed the value of science for society.

My colleagues Ahana Fernandez, Simon Ripperger and me discussed our research and other interesting topics in science and attached fields with curious visitors and neighbors at Kauz & Kibitz in Neukölln, Berlin.

If you want to become a Kieznerd or are interested in talking and discussing science in a pleasant environment look out for the Kieznerds Wimple or visit these links:

Fotos obtained from

rbb Abendschau

The Abendschau is a popular regional daily news show of the TV station Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb).

My colleague Simon Ripperger and me were accompanied by a rbb-Reporter during our fieldwork on common noctule bats (Nyctalus noctula) in summer 2016 in the Treptower Park Berlin. In the resulting TV report on the 5th of July 2016 we introduce our daily fieldwork and research project with the latest biologging technology to a broad audience.

GEO-Tag der Natur

Once a year, the GEO-Magazine invites citizens and scientists to an expedition into the local natural environment. The aim of the GEO-Tag (GEO-Day) is to inventory our  environment: what is growing and thriving in the immediate vicinity? Participants aim to discover as many different plants and animals as possible within 24 hours in a limited area. While it is not important how many animal and plant species are found, it is rather about the awareness of biodiversity in our immediate environmnet.

As bat specialists, colleagues and me assessed the bat fauna during the GEO-Tag in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Bildschirmfoto 2018-11-22 um

Vattenfall Blog

On the Vattenfall blog external experts and Vattenfall employees report on current topics and innovations. They provide insights into the company or company related projects and an outlook on the future.

As external expert and member of an interdisciplinary DFG research consortium (FOR 1508) studying the social behaviour of bats in Berlin using the latest biologging technology and a Vattenfall powerplant as antenna location, I was interviewed for the blog: 'Fledermäuse und digitaler Datenfang' (Bats and digital data collection).

Tigerenten Club

The Tigerenten Club is a German entertainment TV show for children, produced by the Südwest-rundfunk for the ARD and broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays in the ARD, on KiKA, and rbb television.

My colleagues Ahana Fernandez, Simon Ripperger and me went to the Treptower Park in Berlin to catch bats together with Lina – a junior reporter of the Tigerenten Club. The resulting recordings (see right) were enbeded in the Tigerenten Club Episode on bats.  That way we introduce the world of bats to Lina and the young audience of this TV show. The whole show with Simon as in-studio guest can be assessed here.

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