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 – 31.08.2019

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 samples are recorded by using 3-axial accelerometers, which are carried by the greylag goose 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.

Three schools are involved as partners in the project, further interested school-classes are invited to participate. Their task is the regular monitoring of the time-space patterns of the greylag geese in the Cumberland Wildpark during the breeding season (April-July).


Dr. Didone Frigerio

Georgine Szipl, PhD

Mag. Gudrun Gegendorfer

Julia Rittenschober, BSc

Cooperation Partners

1.1. Participating educational institutions:

Primary School Grünau im Almtal, OÖ

Primary School Mühldorf, 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]