Dr Ipek Kulahci


Ipek obtained her Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Stanford University, M.S. from University of Arizona, and Ph.D. from Princeton University. During her studies, she worked on decision-making in checkerspot butterflies at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado, food caching decisions of Florida scrub-jays at Archbold Biological Station in Florida, learning in bumblebees in Arizona, and social networks and cognitive abilities of ring-tailed lemurs at Duke University and St. Catherines Island, and of crows and common ravens at University of Vienna. She was also a Research Associate at SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center in California.

Research Interests

Ipek’s research interests stem from her long-term fascination with three aspects of animal behavior; animal cognition, especially how animals learn and make decisions in changing environments, social behavior, which provides an exciting window into dynamic decision-making processes, and animal communication which is the basis of all social behavior and provides unique insights into animal minds and cognitive abilities. As a postdoc, she will be working with Prof. John Quinn to address the relationships between these topics. She is also a strong supporter of nature conservation and animal welfare, and believes that successful conservation requires a thorough knowledge of animal behavior.


  1. Wascher, C.A.F.*, Kulahci, I.G.*, Langley, E.J.G. & Shaw, R.C. 2018. How does cognition shape social relationships? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. (This paper is for a special issue on individual differences in cognition)
  2. Kulahci, I.G., Ghazanfar, A.A. & Rubenstein, D.I. 2018. Knowledgeable lemurs become more central in social networksCurrent Biology 28: 1306–1310.
  3. Kulahci, I.G., Ghazanfar, A.A. & Rubenstein, D.I. 2018. Consistent individual variation across interaction networks indicates social personalities in lemurs. Animal Behaviour 136: 217-226. (This paper is for a special issue on social networks)
  4. Kulahci, I.G. & Ghazanfar, A.A. 2016. Speaking of which: a multimodal approach to individual recognition. In “The Missing Lemur Link: An Ancestral Step in the Evolution of Human Behaviour” by Ivan Norscia & Elisabetta Palagi. Cambridge University Press.
  5. Kulahci, I.G., Rubenstein, D.I., Bugnyar, T., Hoppitt, W., Mikus, N. & Schwab, C. 2016. Social networks predict selective observation and information spread in ravensRoyal Society Open Science
  6. Kulahci, I.G., Rubenstein, D.I. & Ghazanfar, A.A. 2015. Lemurs groom-at-a-distance through vocal networksAnimal Behaviour, 110: 179-186.
  7. Kulahci, I.G. Social interactions predict patterns of communication and learning. Ph.D. Dissertation, Princeton University.
  8. Kulahci, I.G., Drea, C.M., Rubenstein, D.I. & Ghazanfar, A.A. 2014. Individual recognition through olfactory – auditory matching in lemursProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences281: 20140071.
  9. Kulahci, I.G.& Ghazanfar, A.A. 2013. Multisensory recognition in vertebrates (especially primates) in “Integrating face and voice in person perception.” Part 1. pg: 3-27. Editors Belin, P., Campanella, S. & Ethofer, T. Springer Press.
  10. Kulahci, I.G.& Bowman, R. 2011. Recaching decisions of Florida scrub-jays are sensitive to ecological conditionsEthology, 117: 700-707.
  11. Freund, F.T.,Kulahci, I.G., Cyr, G., Ling, J., Winnick, M., Tregloan-Reed, J., Freund, M.M. 2009. Air ionization at rock surfaces and pre-earthquake signalsJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 71: 1824-1834.
  12. Kulahci, I.G., Dornhaus, A. & Papaj, D.R. 2008. Multimodal signals enhance decision-making in foraging bumblebeesProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences275: 797-802.
  13. Kulahci, I.G. Cognitive ecology of foraging: complex signals and the speed-accuracy tradeoff. Master’s Thesis, University of Arizona.
  14. Boggs C.L., Holdren C.E.,Kulahci I.G., Bonebrake T.C., Inouye B.D., Fay J.P., McMillan A., Williams E.H. & Ehrlich P.R. 2006. Delayed population explosion of an introduced butterflyJournal of Animal Ecology, 75: 466-475.

Professional Activity

Outreach Activities

  • Since 2006, Ipek has been running the Animal Cognition Network. Her goal with this website is to help both the researchers and the public to keep up with the current scientific literature on animal cognition research.
  • She is also a member of the Animal Behavior Society’s Education Committee.


  • International Society for Behavioral Ecology Meeting. Coomes, J., Davidson, G., Kulahci, I., Quinn, J.  Inhibitory control in an ecologically relevant context in the great tit (Parus major) (2018).
  • International Society for Behavioral Ecology Meeting. Reciprocal relationships between information transmission and social connections (2018).
  • Animal Behavior Society Annual Meeting. Kulahci, I.G., Quinn, J.L. Reciprocal relationships between information transmission and social connections (2018).
  • Workshop on individual differences in cognition. University of Exeter, UK. Hanging out with the smart ones? The influence of cognitive performance on social connections (2017).



Ipek Kulahci

Contact Details:


Post Doctoral Researcher



UCC Ornithology Research Group

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UCC North Mall Campus, North Mall, Cork City,