The Systematic Zoology Institute was founded in 1934 on the arts faculty of the Pázmány Péter University (named Eötvös Loránd University from 1950) by Endre Dudich (1895-1971), who was head until 1967. Professor Dudich organised the research and education of systematics, biogeography, hydrobiology and ecology. Academician János Balogh (1913-2002), leading the department from 1967 until 1987, realized the importance of ecological studies, and had the name of the department expanded to Department of Systematic Zoology and Ecology.
Members of the department have continuously been conducting studies of ecology and behavioural ecology on vertebrates since 1978. In 1990, Réka Könczey, László Tóth and János Török founded the Behavioural Ecology Group. The research topics of the group are linked to the fields of ecology, ecophysiology, behavioural ecology, evolutionary biology and population genetics, with the primary fields of study being the evolution of life-history traits and sexual selection. Since the establishment of the group, approximately sixty researchers and PhD students have taken part in its research projects.