Nino Maag | PhD Student

I am an ecologist and I want to know how animals move through space and time, how they perform in changing environments, and how these factors affect their life histories. My research interests are population ecology, dispersal ecology and evolution, life-history theory, movement ecology, population demography, landscape genetics, and conservation biology. During my MSc, I investigated the influence of a dynamic water regime on gene flow between local populations of a riparian grasshopper species. After my MSc, I worked as a research assistant on the effects of climate change on Alpine bird species that are indicative for structural diversity in mountain forests.

In 2014, I started my PhD thesis at the Population Ecology Research Group in Zurich. By fitting light-weight GPS collars on dispersing female meerkats, I investigate the influence of social and environmental factors on different dispersal strategies. Assessment of how these factors affect individual state variables during dispersal, and how those variables affect survival and reproduction, will improve our understanding of alternative life-history strategies and their consequences for population dynamics.

Beyond research, I love nature and doing outdoor sports such as hiking, climbing, ski touring, cycling, swimming and diving.




  • 2014-present, PhD student, Population Ecology Research Group, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2013-2014, Field manager, Meerkat Dispersal Project, Kalahari Research Station, South Africa
  • 2011-2012, Research Assistant, Swiss Federal Research Institute, WSL, Switzerland
  • 2010-2011, MSc in Ecology, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2006-2009, BSc in Biology, University of Zurich, Switzerland



  • Maag N, Cozzi G, Clutton-Brock T, Ozgul A (in review) Density-dependent dispersal strategies in a cooperative breeder. Ecology
  • Cozzi G, Maag N, Börger L, Clutton-Brock T, Ozgul A (2018) Socially informed dispersal in a territorial cooperative breeder. Journal of Animal Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12795
  • Maag N, Karpati T, Bollmann K (2013) Semi-natural river system maintains functional connectivity and gene flow of the critically endangered gravel grasshopper (Chorthippus pullus). Biological Conservation 158:88–97
  • Maag N, Gehrer L, Woodhams DC (2012) Sink or swim: a test of tadpole behavioral response to predator cues and potential alarm pheromones from skin secretions. Journal of Comparative Physiology – A 198:841–846