My main research interest concerns the behavioural adaptations of animals. My current project focuses on the study of male mate choice in species with no sex-roles reversal and how sexual selection effects different phenotypes within a population. I want to investigate if female colourations and ornamentation could have evolved in response to sexual selection through male mate choice. My study species is the alpine newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris), an ectothermic vertebrate species with conventional sex-roles in which both sexes show brightly coloured ventral sides. The aim of my PhD project is to characterise the reproductive success of different phenotypes, to investigate the effect of the variation in female belly colour on the mate preference of males and to analyse the correlation of female fecundity and colouration. I am using techniques that include behavioural observations and tests, experimental colour manipulation, molecular work and analytical chemistry.
2014 - now PhD Thesis at the University of Tübingen, Germany
Title: “Sexual selection through male mate choice on female body colouration in a vertebrate with no sex-role reversal”
2015 - 16 PhD Scholarship by Landesgraduiertenförderung Baden-Württemberg
2012 - 14 MSc in Biology (specialization in “Ecology and Conservation”) at Uppsala University, Sweden
2013 - 14 Master Thesis at Stockholm University, Sweden.
Title: “Local conditions have an impact on the behaviour and the personality of juvenile arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus)”
2016-18 Einführung in die Verhaltensökologie (lecture for undergraduates) in the department of Evolution and Ecology at the University of Tübingen
2018 Meeting StEvE (Students in Evolution and Ecology) in Tübingen, Germany Contribution: Talk
2017 Meeting StEvE (Students in Evolution and Ecology) in Tübingen, Germany Contribution: Poster
2017 Behaviour2017 (joint meeting of the ASAB Summer Meeting) in Estoril, Portugal Contribution: Poster
2016 Meeting StEvE (Students in Evolution and Ecology) in Tübingen, Germany Contribution: Poster
2016 ISBE16 (International Society of Behavioural Ecology) in Exeter, England Contribution: Talk
2015 Meeting StEvE (Students in Evolution and Ecology) in Tübingen, Germany Contribution: Talk
2015 EMPSEB 21 (European Meeting of PhD students in Evolutionary Biology) in Stirling, Scotland Contribution: Talk
2016 Versuchstierkundliche Grundlagen und tierexperimentelle Methoden Equivalent to the guidelines of the FELASA (Category B)
2016 Bayesian Data Analyses Using Linear Models with R and Stan
Lüdtke, D.U., Foerster, K. (2018): Choosy males court both large, colourful females and less colourful but responsive females for longer. Animal Behaviour 146: 1-11 Animal Behaviour
Lüdtke, D.U., Foerster, K. (2019): Temporal patterns of mating activity in Alpine Newts, Ichthyosaura alpestris. Journal of Herpetology 53(3): 245-251 Journal of Herpetology
Lüdtke, D.U., Foerster, K.: A female color ornament honestly signals fecundity. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. Under review.