Bayern, Germany
Date Posted
19 Dec 2024

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PhD Project
International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology

PhD position on Comparative Analysis of Sexual Selection in Parrots of the World

Bayern, Germany
19 Dec 2024

NOTE: this position listing has expired and may no longer be relevant!

Position Description

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Organismal Biology offers several fully-funded PhD positions. The IMPRS is based in southern Germany and is jointly organized by the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen and Radolfzell and the University of Konstanz. Outstanding students of all nationalities with a deep commitment to basic research in Organismal Biology are invited to apply.
All students accepted to the program will be supported by stipends or contracts. The program offers a dedicated teaching program, high quality research experience, and outstanding research facilities in an inspiring research and living environment. The working language is English. Each PhD student receives individual supervision and mentoring and is guided in her/his research work by a PhD advisory committee.

Project abstract: Birds are among the most diverse vertebrates in terms of sexually selected traits and mating behaviour, and comparative analysis can be a powerful tool to help understand the evolution of this diversity. The aim of this project is to compare sexual dimorphism and courtship displays among all (or most) parrots of the world, and to investigate the variation in these traits in the context of other life-history traits and ecology. The practical work will take place at the facilities of the Loro Parque Foundation on Tenerife, which keeps the largest parrot collection in the world with over 4000 individuals of 350 of the 372 species. You will combine measurements and observations from captive birds with information gathered from the literature on a variety of life-history traits and use modern phylogenetic comparative methods to make inferences about the evolution of those traits. During the yearly veterinary stock control of the 4000 parrots and from the associated database containing the life histories of all the individuals in the collection, many scientifically relevant data can be ‘harvested’. The project is ideally suited for multidisciplinary approaches, in particular with links to research on comparative cognition, evolutionary genetics, ecological meta-analyses, hormonal surveys and immuno-ecology.
Main advisors Mihai Valcu & Bart Kempenaers, MPIO Seewiesen, in collaboration with Auguste von Bayern

Applicants should hold a MSc or equivalent degree in biology or a related discipline at the point of enrollment.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, it is strongly recommended to do this via the webpage of the International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology ( Deadline of application is January 15th, 2015. Interviews with the applicants are scheduled for Mid-March.