Oferta de doctorado estudiando diversidad aviar en el Monte Camerún ~ Bioblogia.net

13 de enero de 2021

Oferta de doctorado estudiando diversidad aviar en el Monte Camerún

Oferta compartida por Guillermo

: The importance of clouds for mid-elevation exchange of avian communities on Mt. Cameroon
Research group: Horak group (https://horakd8.wixsite.com/davidhorak)
Location: Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague (Czech Republic)
Application deadline: March 11th, 2021

Description of the project
Globally, terrestrial biological diversity shows clear patterns along latitude with most species inhabiting productive tropical regions. Also, hotspots of diversity are typically concentrated on tropical oceanic islands and in montane areas – both form differentiated biotopes unique from the surrounding landscapes. On a relatively small spatial scale, elevational gradients support a variety of environments, thus determining biogeographical patterns and increase observed species richness. Mountain species are characterised by relatively small geographical ranges and limited mobility, which is driven by high habitat heterogeneity because of complex topographic and climatic gradients. Our knowledge of African mountain biodiversity is very limited, and the ecology of most African montane species is poorly known. Given the rapid rate of change taking place in African mountains, understanding patterns and processes at fine scale along environmental gradients in African mountains can assist in understanding geographical ranges and predicting their changes under immediate human pressure and Global Change.

Elevational richness patterns show rather uniform trends across different locations with decreasing numbers of species towards montane regions, although the decline in diversity frequently shows peaks at mid-elevations. Besides, compositions of tropical assemblages frequently show high levels of turnover at mid-elevations. It suggests that lowland and montane communities mix within the middle elevation zone, which is challenging as no physical barriers limiting distribution of animals, can usually be detected. Therefore, alternative obstacles likely limit dispersal of lowland and montane species, respectively. The cloud zones form “thin curtains” that might be responsible. Darkness, coldness, and humidity of misty locations could importantly change parameters of vegetation such as tree structure or diversity of epiphytes.

We corroborated abrupt changes in community composition also along elevational gradient of Mount Cameroon (Hořák et al. 2019). This Project will focus on the mid-elevation zone of contact between lowland and montane avian communities (1,000-1,500 m asl) of Mt. Cameroon and combine data about (i) avian species spatial distributions, (ii) variation in population densities and (iii) seasonality in bird activity with fine scale spatial variation in climatic parameters including mist.

The applicant is expected to have conversational knowledge of English (French is an advantage), capacity to work independently within the multi-cultural team, fundamental knowledge of analysis in R and GIS, field work experience with birds (knowledge of Afrotropical birds in an advantage) and ability to work under tropical climatic conditions.

This position is offered under the STARS program (https://stars-natur.cz/). This program provides fully funded PhD positions to ensure an excellent education and an adequate income to PhD students of the Faculty of Science. The STARS program aims to attract the best students from abroad, as well as from the Czech Republic. It guarantees that the student will receive at least 20500 CZK/month (equivalent of cca 800 EUR/month).

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