3 doctorados y un postdoc estudiando evolución de la cooperación en Suiza ~ Bioblogia.net

8 de octubre de 2017

3 doctorados y un postdoc estudiando evolución de la cooperación en Suiza

4 PhD- and postdoc positions are available at the University of Bern, to study the

Evolution of cooperation based on relatedness, negotiation and trading

All major transitions in the evolution of life are characterized by the necessity of cooperation and sacrifice of constituent parts transforming into higher complexity. Conceptually, the evolution of
cooperation seems to be well understood. However, critical tests of the predictions from alternative mechanisms responsible for the establishment of evolutionarily stable levels of cooperation hardly
exist. For instance, the seemingly overwhelming evidence for the importance of kin selection to the evolution of altruism is almost entirely correlational. Few studies have manipulated relatedness and
measured behavioural responses and corresponding fitness effects, and several have found that relatedness in fact hampers cooperative behaviour instead of promoting it, opposite to predictions from kin selection theory. The relative significance of alternative mechanisms in addition to kin selection, such as negotiation and reciprocal trading, to explain cooperation in nature is as yet unclear. In this project we aim to develop and experimentally test predictions regarding the relative and interactive influence of relatedness and negotiation/trading on cooperation between social partners.

Our previous work has suggested that mutual help and trading of service
and commodities are important and widespread variants of cooperative
interactions among animals, which can elicit high levels of
evolutionary stable cooperation. A crucial parameter in reciprocal
trading is the potential time delay between subsequent interactions
among social partners, because this affects the perceived or true
probability to receive returns for provided help. One aim of this
project will be to vary the time axis of social decisions between
concurrency and delays of different magnitude to span the entire range
from coaction to long-term reciprocity. Another important issue is that
in nature most social interactions involve some sort of asymmetry
between concerned individuals, regardless whether this is sex, age,
dominance status, body condition, individual quality, need, resource
holding potential, reproductive status, residual reproductive value,
etc. Consequently, in virtually any social interaction the involved
individuals have different abilities and expectations about potential
pay-offs from the interaction. The current project aims to
experimentally scrutinize the significance of asymmetries for the
negotiation process between social partners about their respective
cooperative effort.

Hitherto, effects of experimental manipulation of cooperation on direct
and indirect components of fitness have hardly been scrutinized. We aim
at estimating fitness effects of experimentally controlled cooperative
behaviour in natural and semi-natural settings by manipulating at the
same time relatedness and the negotiation rules applied by all involved
parties. Our model organisms will be wild-type Norway rats and
cooperatively breeding Lake Tanganyika cichlids.

Within the framework of this SNF-funded project, we offer one post-doc
and three PhD-positions. We seek highly-motivated and well organised
candidates who can work independently as well as drive collaborative
projects. Scientific curiosity is a must and good English language
skills are important. Previous experience with studying animal
behaviour is mandatory. The PhD-applicants will need an MSc-degree (or
equivalent) in biology. Applications must include a letter of
motivation, CV, list of publications, copy of degree certificates, and
two names of referees who should have sent their recommendation letter
separately before the mentioned deadline. Applications should be
submitted before

Wednesday 25 October 2017

by e-mail (all documents merged into one PDF file) to

Late applications will be considered until all positions are filled.
Starting date of all positions is as soon as possible. Duration of
contracts is up to 3 years.

Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Michael Taborsky

Behavioural Ecology Division, Institute of Ecology and Evolution



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