EthoS is a mixed Universities of Rennes 1 and Caen - CNRS (National Scientific Research Committee Section 27) research unit. This unit is located at four sites: Beaulieu University Campus in Rennes, the Biological Field Station at Paimpont (Brittany, Ille-et-Vilaine, approximately 50 km from Rennes), Jules Horowitz Campus 5 in Caen and the Research center in coastal environment (CREC) in Luc sur Mer (approximately 20 km from Caen).
Our research unit has a long history of expertise in the study of animal (since the 50's) and human (since the 70's) behaviour and has progressively increased its size and national as well as international reputation over the years.
Indeed, EthoS is one of the largest research units focusing its research entirely on ethology with a broad expertise of animal models ranging from invertebrates to humans. EthoS is well known in particular for its important contributions to current international scientific debates on epigenesis, origin of language, brain plasticity and welfare measures.
Our common aim is to understand animal and human behaviour, that is, organism-environment relationships, by referring to comparative and integrative approaches.
Our investigations are guided by the four questions defined by the ethologist Nikolaas Tinbergen (Nobel prize in 1973), and as often as possible conform to the corresponding integrative approach, i.e. ontogeny, causality, function and evolution of behaviour.
We question how social factors, as well as other environmental factors, influence emotional and social development, communication modality and complexity, cognitive processes, and human and animal well-being. The importance of sociality during individual development and species evolution is investigated on a very broad level by studying intraspecific, as well as interspecific relationships. Our integrative and comparative approaches lead us to investigate mechanisms underlying behavioural expressions and their intra- and inter-individual variations. Our evolutionary approach concentrates on functional convergences, through a large comparison between phylogenetically distant species facing similar living (notably social) constraints.
Our biological models include species that are more or less distant phylogenetically and more or less complex and varied socially. Our broad range of biological models include invertebrates (formerly cockroaches and now spiders), birds (songbirds: oscines, other birds: gallinaceans), terrestrial (horses) and aquatic (cetaceans and otters) mammals, notably non-human and human primates.