PhD Evol Biol in Antwerp ~

10 de julio de 2012

PhD Evol Biol in Antwerp

The Faculty of Sciences of the University of Antwerp is seeking to fill the following full-time (100 %) vacancy in the Department of Biology-Ethology PhD student by the University Research Fund (BOF) in the area of Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology Job description • You prepare a doctoral thesis in the field of Behavioral Ecology. The PhD project focuses on the evolutionary ecology of begging at the interface between mechanisms and function/evolution using avian model species (e.g. blue tits, gulls, starlings, canaries). Begging, the solicitation of food from parents the offspring, has a direct and significant effect on growth, survival, and thus ultimately on fitness. Obviously, begging for food from parents should elicit the transfer of resources, typically a greater amount than parents are selected to provide, since parents and offspring are, at least in birds, not genetically identical. Furthermore, when offspring seeks parental investment, their begging exerts a selective pressure on the parents. But begging is at the same time also a target of selection, because it is influenced by the parental response. Both behaviours should, therefore, ultimately become co-adapted. Being a agent and a target of selection, begging follows a complex evolutionary trajectory, flavoured by evolutionary conflicts of interest. Possible lines of research are: - To test important evolutionary ecological predictions in the context of evolutionary conflicts of interest, scramble competition and the honest signalling of offspring requirement - To impose (artificial) selection on begging (a) to investigate genetic covariances and correlated responses in traits that generate trade-offs or that are co-adapted and (b) to identify underlying control mechanisms via a correlated selection on physiological traits - To study the regulating role of testosterone and corticosterone, since physiological mechanisms may affect or even constrain the response to selection by linking the expression of different traits across contexts or life- history stages - To investigate what mechanisms make begging adaptive and thus improve our understanding of the evolutionary ecology of life- history traits and fitness components Profile and requirements · You hold a master degree in Biology; · You are an enthusiastic, highly motivated student with a strong interest in Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology, preferentially with previous experience in related research; · You have good organizational, writing and presentation skills and should be able to work well both independently and in a team environment; We offer · A doctoral scholarship for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal for a further two-year period after positive evaluation; · The start date of scholarship will be October 1st, November 1st, December 1st 2012 or January 1st 2013; · A monthly salary ranging from € 2.070 - € 2.120; · A dynamic and stimulating group of researchers working on the interface of all 4 major aspects of animal behaviour (causation, development, function, evolution), with particular emphasis on bird family life (maternal effects, phenotypic plasticity, parent-offspring conflict & co-adaptation). Interested? · Applications may only be submitted online (vacancy number 2012AAPDOCPROEX115) and need to include a letter of motivation (approx. 250 words) and contact information of up to two referees, closing date August 12th 2012; · A pre-selection will be made from the submitted applications. The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel; · The interviews will take place from August 20th until August 31st 2012; Ellen Huijer (TEL 03 265 31 45); see also; for questions about the profile, please contact Prof. Wendt Müller (, see also Wendt Müller University of Antwerp Department of Biology-Ethology Campus Drie Eiken C-127 Universiteitsplein 1 2610 Antwerp (Wilrijk), Belgium e-mail: web: tel +32 32652292 fax +32 32652271 mobile: +32 473567276

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