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Graduate Students

PhD project on the alpine she-oak skink (Cyclodomorphus praealtus)
Monash University, Australia

A PhD project is available in David Chapple’s Evolutionary Ecology of Environmental Change research group at Monash University (https://sites.google.com/site/chapplelab/). The research group uses field studies, field- and lab-based experiments, comparative analyses, morphological analyses and molecular approaches to examine the impact of past, current, and future environmental change on phenotype, life-history and distribution.

The Egernia Group (Egernia, Liopholis, Lissolepis, Bellatorias, Tiliqua, Corucia) is an endemic Australasian lineage of large-sized skinks that exhibit stable social aggregations and long-term social and genetic monogamy. The PhD project will focus on the endangered alpine she-oak skink, and investigate its mating system, social system, ecology and habitat use, thermal biology and diet. The species is listed as one of Zoos Victoria’s 20 priority native threatened species (http://www.zoo.org.au/healesville/animals/alpine-she- oak-skink). This project will be supported by an ARC Discovery Grant, and involve collaboration with Geoff While (University of Tasmania) and Mike Gardner (Flinders University).

Interested students should email their CV (including details of two academic referees), academic record, and research interests to Dr David Chapple (David.Chapple@monash.edu) by Monday 10th October 2016. Students will need to successfully obtain a PhD scholarship. One applicant will be selected to complete and submit a PhD scholarship application at Monash University. For highly-qualified students, it may be possible to commence the project in late 2016.

PhD position in Ethology at the Department of Zoology
Stockholm University, Sweden

Ref. nr. SU FV-2501-16 Deadline for application: October 1, 2016.

The link between intrinsic cognitive ability, learning behavior and patterns of generalization.
The aim of this project is to disentangle the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that can explain variation in how individuals respond to and learn to associate with different stimuli in their environment. This variation in behavioral responses leads to variation in how the individuals interact with their environment, and will ultimately have significant intra- and interspecific evolutionary consequences (e.g. in signal evolution, mate choice and prey defenses). We aim for a mainly experimental approach, studying preferences, learning and discrimination behavior and generalization behavior in subjects that vary in cognitive ability, experience, and/or rearing conditions. The main subject species for the project will be the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). We already have existing selection lines of large- and small-brained guppies, with associated differences in cognitive ability. These lines provide a unique opportunity to study effects of intrinsic cognitive ability on learning behavior. The majority of the project will be undertaken in the brand new tropical freshwater fish labs in the Department of Zoology with room for over 6,000 aquaria and several separate experiment rooms. However, depending on the preferences of the recruited PhD student and the development of the project, there are possibilities to extend the scope of the project. For instance, we have substantial experience in studying learning and cognition in birds (wild-caught blue and great tits and domestic chickens) and comparative analyses across cartilaginous fish is another possible route. Generally, the project will mostly be lab-oriented and involve quite time consuming experimental work. At the same time, the position will provide excellent opportunities for personal initiatives and development towards a successful academic career.

Qualification requirements
To be qualified for research studies in the program, the applicant must have completed a Master degree (or equivalent) or have passed at least 120 hp (2 years) of biological studies, including an approved independent project of at least 30 hp at advanced level within Ethology, Zoology, Behavioral Ecology, Evolutionary Biology or a related subject. Applicants who have in principle acquired the corresponding competence in Sweden or in another country are also qualified.

We are looking in particular for candidates with a strong interest in animal learning and cognition, with excellent analytical ability and experience from studying behavior and other traits of interest. Experience in working with aquatic animals in the lab is also meriting.

For more information and to apply follow this link:

For more information, please contact:

Dr Gabriella Gamberale Stille
Telephone: +46 8 16 40 46
Email: gabriella.gamberale@zoologi.su.se 
Professor Niclas Kolm
Telephone: +46 8 16 40 50
Email: niclas.kolm@zoologi.su.se


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