Oferta de doctorado con aves invasoras (UK & España) ~ Bioblogia.net

23 de noviembre de 2016

Oferta de doctorado con aves invasoras (UK & España)

# Nota de F: El trabajo de campo lo llevarás a cabo con mi director de tesis, en el Museo de Ciencias Naturales de Barcelona, donde yo mismo disfruté mis gloriosos años de doctorado. ¡Aquí al lado puedes ver la que fue "mi oficina"!
Un proyecto interesantísimo en la ciudad más divertida de Europa. Totalmente recomendado ;)

Alien parrots: social and genetic structure of an invasive population
Lead supervisor: Prof. Ben Hatchwell, Univeristy of Sheffield, APS
Co-supervisors: Dr. Dan Franks, Biology & Computer Science, University of York; Dr. Juan Carlos Senar; Natural History Museum of Barcelona, Spain.


Invasions by alien species are an increasing threat to global biodiversity and an understanding of the process of invasion is a key requirement if we are to mitigate the impact of this threat. The main focus of studies of invasive species has been on the species traits and population dynamic processes associated with successful invasions. However, individual behaviours, social interactions and kinship are also likely to play vital roles in determining dispersal and other key demographic traits influencing invasion success, but these have been overlooked in previous studies. This project will take a multidisciplinary approach to fill this important gap in the study of biological invasions.
The studentship involves study of an invasive parrot, the monk parakeet Myiopsitta monachus, a species that has colonized cities across Europe, North America and Asia. This species is a highly social cooperative breeder that is unique among parrots in building communal nests that may house several pairs. The student will use observational, experimental and molecular genetic approaches in a population of individually marked monk parakeets living in Barcelona, the largest European population (>5000 birds). The growth of this invasive population has been well documented from its early stages and its numbers are currently increasing exponentially, with a growing impact on native biodiversity and agricultural production.
The student will:
1. Determine the genetic structure of the population at spatial and social scales ranging from individual nests to the whole city.
2. Test the roles of behavioural interactions and relatedness as drivers of dispersal and social associations using social network analysis.
3. Investigate how cooperation and conflict over individual investment in communal nests determine the decision to initiate new colonies.
Population genetic studies of monk parakeets have been conducted at a broad geographic scale, but this project will be novel in its focus on how fine scale social and genetic structure and behavioural interactions drive dispersal and other demographic traits, both of which are critical factors in alien invasions. The project builds on a long-term study of parakeets in Barcelona, involving a combination of specialists in invasion biology, avian population ecology, social evolution and the analysis of social interactions to address novel questions that will be of interest in a broad range of fields.
This studentship would suit a highly motivated student interested in behavioural ecology and conservation biology, wanting to work on a project involving research in the field and lab. The project is particularly well suited to students with an enthusiasm for research on wild birds. Fieldwork will be conducted mainly during the monk parakeet’s breeding season (March – July) when the student will be based at the Natural History Museum in central Barcelona. At other times, the student will be based in Sheffield, where molecular genetic analyses will also be conducted.
The student will join the research group of the lead supervisor (BJH), whose work focuses on the social evolution and population ecology of birds. The project will also benefit greatly from the input of the second supervisor (DF), whose interests lie in social strategies, with a particular expertise in social network analysis. The third supervisor (JCS) has broad interests in pure and applied studies of bird populations and behaviour, with very extensive local knowledge and experience of the study system that will be invaluable in ensuring the success of the project. The student will receive training in specific skills for field research on birds, molecular genetic tools and social network analysis. The student will also be trained in a broad range of generic skills including quantitative analysis and in science communication, as well as having a great opportunity to experience and absorb the unique culture of Catalonia.
Some relevant references about the project are provided below. Interested students are welcome to direct informal enquiries to Ben Hatchwell (b.hatchwell@sheffield.ac.uk).
Croft et al. (2011) Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26: 502-507.
van Dijk et al. (2014) Ecology Letters 17: 1141-1148.
Edelaar et al. (2015) Molecular Ecology 24: 2164-2176
Rodriguez-Pastor et al. (2012) Animal Biodiversity and Conservation 35: 107-117.
Senar et al. (2016) Animal Biodiversity and Conservation 39:141-145.

How to apply

To apply for this project please complete an on-line application form


Please select ‘Standard Ph.D.’

Department: Animal and Plant Sciences Department

Project title: Alien parrots: social and genetic structure of an invasive population

Supervisor(s): Prof. Ben Hatchwell, Dr. Dan Franks, Dr. Juan Carlos Senar

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