27 de noviembre de 2011


Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Switzerland

1) PhD 'GENETIC BASIS OF COOPERATION': The aim of this PhD-project is to investigate the genetic basis of cooperative behaviour in highly social African cichlids. These fish have turned into a model species for studies of social evolution based on detailed information about their ecology and behaviour, excellent possibilities for behavioural and physiological experiments and recent sequencing of their full genome. We shall pursue a dual approach: (1) a quantitative genetics study employing a large-scale breeding experiment and (2) an ecological genomics approach using molecular biology tools. The project will involve intensive behavioural observations, quantitative genetics modeling and lab work for brain gene expression analyses. Eligible candidates will have a master’s degree (or Diplom) in Biology and research experience in animal behaviour, a genuine understanding of evolutionary theory and a strong commitment to basic science. Practical skills in molecular and/or quantitative genetics techniques and in empirical work with fish are beneficial, but not a precondition. The project will be mostly based in Bern, but will involve collaboration with two co-supervisors, Nadia Aubin-Horth (University Laval, Canada) and Mathias Kölliker (University of Basel, Switzerland). The position is part of the Doctoral Research Program ("ProDoc") funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation SNF on “Proximate and ultimate causes of cooperation” and will connect up to 30 PhD students working on animal cooperation by a research network. Supervisor of this project: Barbara Taborsky.

2) PhD 'ALTERNATIVE REPRODUCTIVE TACTICS': The aim of this PhD-project is to study the adaptive responses to mating competition of conspecifics pursuing alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) that are either fixed for life or dependent on condition. Evolutionary theory predicts that negative frequency dependence will select for tactic frequencies generating equal lifetime fitnesses when ARTs reflect genetic morphs. In contrast, when ARTs are purely conditional they may yield different fitness pay-offs. African cichlids showing both types of ARTs will serve as experimental model for this study. It will involve competitive in vitro fertilization experiments, behavioural and environmental manipulations, and – depending on focus – field work on Lake Tanganyika and/or research on physiological control mechanisms. Eligible candidates will have a master’s degree (or Diplom) in Biology and research experience in animal behaviour, a genuine understanding of evolutionary theory and a strong commitment to basic science. Practical skills in behavioural observation, multivariate statistics, physiological techniques, empirical work with fish and scientific publication (e.g. of the master’s thesis) will be helpful, but are not a precondition. Supervisor of this project: Michael Taborsky.

Both positions are for three years and should preferably start in early 2012.

The successful candidates will join a bustling research environment consisting of ca. 15 PhD-students and advanced research staff, five technicians and a varying number of master’s students and guest scientists. Besides this Behavioural Ecology group, the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Bern comprises research groups in Aquatic Ecology (Ole Seehausen), Community Ecology (Wolfgang Nentwig), Conservation Biology (Raphael Arlettaz), Evolutionary Ecology (Heinz Richner) and Population Genetics (Laurent Excoffier). Salaries will follow the schemes of the national funding organization of Switzerland.

Closing date: Open until filled, but all application materials, including CV, a summary of research experience, copies of any published or in-press papers, and two letters of recommendation should be received by 22 December 2011 to ensure full consideration. Candidates should indicate in a cover letter for which position they apply and when they could take it up. Please send all application material to the secretary’s office, c/o Marlis Gerteis, Dept. Behavioural Ecology, University of Bern, Wohlenstrasse 50A, CH-3032 Bern, Switzerland; or as e-mail attachments to marlis.gerteis@iee.unibe.ch. Please consult our web-page for information on our research: http://behav.zoology.unibe.ch/ For inquiries please contact barbara.taborsky@iee.unibe.ch (position 1) or michael.taborsky@iee.unibe.ch (position 2). 
End of announcement

PD Dr. Barbara Taborsky
Institute for Ecology and Evolution
Behavioural Ecology
University of Bern
Wohlenstrasse 50A,
CH-3032 Hinterkappelen,Switzerland

Tel: +41 31 6319 157, Fax: +41 31 6319 141

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