GRASS - Greylag geese as a model for animal social systems

Modulation of circannual behavioural and foraging patterns by social factors: the Greylag goose (Anser anser) as a model

Project Details

Principal Investigator Dr. Didone Frigerio

Funding OeAD – Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research

Programme Sparkling Science, 6th Call (2016)

Project Duration 01.09.2017 – 31.12.2019

Project Number SPA-06/155

Research Objective

Social conflicts are among the strongest stress factors for group-living vertebrates - they modulate physiology, behaviour, reproduction and the immune system of an individual. The main research objective of this project is the investigation of the relationships between activity patterns, digestive efficiency and social behaviour, i.e. the complex modulation of biological rhythms by the social status in a highly social and long-lived vertebrate, the greylag goose.

Research Questions

How does the social environment influence the seasonal activity patterns, as well as the digestive efficiency in greylag geese of different social categories (e.g. paired / unpaired)?


Activity patterns are going to be recorded by using 3-axial accelerometers, which are carried by the greylag geese on the back. These patterns, together with information about the digestive efficiency will provide an integrative picture of the relationship between social environment and physiology and its effects on reproductive success.

Nine elementary school classes and one high school class are involved in the project. The task of the pupils is the regular monitoring of the time-space patterns of the greylag geese in the Cumberland Wildpark.

What happens to my data?

The raw data can only be viewed by project employees. The data will only be passed on to third parties anonymously and for scientific purposes. The project does not pursue any commercial goals. Personal data will be kept strictly confidential and will not be passed on to third parties.

External Project Homepage

Citizen Science at the University of Vienna: The project in a nutshell

Project page of the funding programme Sparkling Science

Project folder on the Sparkling Science homepage

The project on Österreich forscht


Dott.Dr. Didone FRIGERIO Project leader and management

Mag. Gudrun GEGENDORFER Training and supervision of Citizen Scientists

Verena PÜHRINGER-STURMAYR, MSc specifically responsible for the Citizen Science part of the project, data evaluation and publication

Julia RITTENSCHOBER, BSc Training and supervision of Citizen Scientists

Georgine SZIPL, PhD Triaxial accelerometry, data collection, evaluation and publication

Cooperation Partners

1.1. Participating educational institutions:

Primary School Grünau im Almtal, OÖ

Primary School Mühldorf, Scharnstein, OÖ

Primary School 10 Wels, OÖ

Europaschule Linz, OÖ

Grammar School Körnerschule Linz, OÖ

1.2. Scientific cooperation partners:

Pädagogische Hochschule Oberösterreich

University of Udine

Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge

1.3. Partners from economy and society:

Naturtierpark Grünau GmbH

Kinder Uni OÖ - Institut für Angewandte Umweltbildung



Dr. Didone Frigerio

Phone: +43 (0) 7616 8510

Email: didone.frigerio[at]

Email KLF: office.klf[at]