University of Liège
Faculty of Sciences
Behavioural Biology Unit
fish amphibians birds mammals
Behavioural Biology Unit français



Behavioural Biology Unit: Ethology and Animal Psychology (Prof. P. Poncin)

Institute of Zoology - University of Liège
Quai van Beneden 22 - 4020 Liège, Belgium

Phone: (+32) (0)4.366.50.84 - Fax: (+32) (0) 4.366.51.13 - E-mail :

Our unit investigates the behavioural ecology of Vertebrates in natural and experimental environments through the study of social structures, mating tactics, communication systems, biological rhythms, space utilisation and population dynamics. Ultimately, we aim at characterising the ontogeny and plasticity of behaviours, their adaptive values for the individuals, populations and species, which intimately govern the evolution and biological diversity of animals.

Our studies rely on state-of-the-art technology for the measurement of behaviour (Ethovision - video tracking, Observer Video Pro, sonography, telemetry) and benefit largely from numerous experimental facilities (over 100 aquaria, mesocosms, artificial stream). The Unit includes three laboratories: the Laboratory of Fish and Amphibian Ethology, the Laboratory of Fish Demography and Hydroecology, and the Laboratory of Animal and Human Evolution.

Studies of fish behaviour focus essentially on the influence of the physical, chemical, biological and social factors on the behavioural repertoires and patterns, psycho-physiological and psychomotor systems, reproductive strategies, habitat selection and the interactions between predator and prey [P. Poncin - M. Ovidio - J.C. Philipart - M. Ylieff - J. Delcourt]. Regarding amphibians, we focus on the phenotypic plasticity of newts and salamanders, in particular the adaptive value of polyphenisms, the effect of environmental variables on amphibian decline [M. Denoël], and the development of behavioural biomarkers. Studies of birds consist essentially in the analysis of individual behavioural profiles and song repertoires, and in the survey of wild endangered populations and species [M. Loneux]. Investigations on primates aim essentially at analysing how social relationships vary within and between groups, as a function of demographic factors, resource availability, kinship and history of groups [M.C. Huynen].

Last publications:


List of the main publications

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University of Liège

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M. Denoël

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V. Beaupain

  [University of Liege] [Faculty of Sciences] [Departement of Environmental Sciences] [Behavioural Biology Unit]


University of Liège Faculty of Sciences