Two Phd position at the Terrestrial Ecology Unit ~

24 de noviembre de 2010

Two Phd position at the Terrestrial Ecology Unit

Ghent University
Eco ]evolutionary consequences of dispersal (supervisor Prof. dr. Dries Bonte)

We have from January 2011 onwards two positions vacant for a Phd student to study the eco ]evolutionary
dynamics of dispersal by applying simulations in mesocosm environments and by modeling. The research will
be conducted at the Terrestrial Ecology Unit of Ghent University, in close collaboration with advisors from other
faculties (dr. T. Van Leeuwen, fac. Bio ]engineering) and other Universities (a.o., Prof. dr. R. Stoks ]University
Louvain, dr. Justin Travis, Aberdeen; Prof. dr. Tim Benton, Leeds).
Position 1: Evolution of dispersal and ecological consequences in artificial metapopulations
The project will focus mainly on mesocosm experiments aiming to test theoretical prediction on the impact of
habitat fragmentation, disturbance and range expansion on the evolution of dispersal, stress responses and
other life history traits. Spider mites will function as a model organism, and special attention will be given to
the impact of endosymbionts on the evolution of dispersal and vice versa. The applicant is further expected to
study the genetic background of these evolutionary changes by advanced genomic techniques.
Position 2: Life history and dispersal evolution during range expansion dynamics
The aim of this project is to study how range expansion dynamics influence the evolution of dispersal and
associated life history traits, and how these changes feedback on the ecology. The project will especially
emphasize on the relative importance of gradual and sudden changes in the environment, interactions with
changes in the spatial configuration of habitat and on the importance of trade ]offs among life history traits.
Research questions need to be addressed by simulation modeling. In addition to this work, the Phd student is
expected to develop models for understanding the in vivo simulations (position 1).
Both positions are open till a suitable candidate has been attracted.
We seek candidates with the following profile:
.. Diploma of master in biology/master in bio ]engineer (or equivalent) at the start of the appointment.
Students with a diploma in physics, informatics or maths but with a strong interest in evolutionary
ecology can candidate for the second position.
.. Strong interest in the evolutionary and spatial ecology of arthropods
.. Well developed didactic and communicative skills
.. Experience in molecular techniques (position 1) or simulation modeling (position 2) is an added value
.. mastering the Dutch language is not a prerequisite, but a good knowledge of English writing and
speaking is absolutely required.
We offer:
.. you will be working in a dynamic environment. Our group has expanded quite fast the last few years
and currently, more than 20 PhD students are working in our group. Besides, more than 10 PhD
students have successfully obtained their PhD degree in the last five years.
.. You will conduct research within an internationally recognized network.
.. You will have access to experimental and numerical facilities and one of the strongest high
performance computing cluster to run simulations.
.. You will get the chance to attend international conferences on ecology and evolution and to present
papers on these conferences.
.. If you are just graduated, your net income is 1720 EUR per month. The grant is free from taxes.
.. The cost for the PhD study itself is very limited. Our education system is very different from for
example the system in the United Kingdom. When you start your PhD study, you pay a once ]only
tuition fee of 270 EUR, and the rest of your study is free of charge,
.. The university offers compensations for public transport (train) and bicycle. The work location can be
reached easily by public transport (train and tram/bus).
.. A hospitalization insurance policy can be concluded.
.. There are a lot of sport accommodations and other benefits (reductions on computer purchase, internet connection, fitness,...) for university personnel.

More information on the research group and the research project can be found on the website
or directly by contacting Dries Bonte (; Tel: +32/92645213
Interested candidates are invited to apply with cover letter, detailed curriculum vitae (grades per year of study) to

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