Belgium: Ph.D. Student/Post-doc in Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology at University of Antwerp

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Job description

Bird song has been a fascinating and productive area of research among other in the context of sexual selection, and it is now commonly assumed that bird song forms a sexually selected trait. Bird song represents a learned behaviour, which makes it an even more fascinating trait, given that learned forms of vocal communication are a rather exceptional phenomenon. In this project particular attention will be paid to:

•      The genetic basis of song characters in order to predict their potential to respond to directional selection and the existence of (genetic) learning preferences and predispositions as sources of individual variation in song

•      Indirect selection on the underlying endocrinological control mechanisms for the evolution of bird song and the evolution of suites of traits

•      Testing predictions of evolutionary theory in the context of sexual selection (indirect and direct benefits to mate choice, condition dependence,…)

•      Variation in the environmental conditions during development, trade-offs across different life-history stages, and transgenerational consequences


Profile and requirements

•      you have a Master degree in Biology or an equivalent degree in life sciences

•      you are an enthusiastic and highly motivated student with a strong interest in  Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology, preferentially with experience in related research

•      post-doctoral candidates should be qualified young scientists with a strong background in Behavioral or Evolutionary Ecology. Evidence of independent thinking and a good publication record are desirable

•      you have good organizational, writing and presentation skills and should be able to work well both independently and in a team environment


We offer

•      a Ph.D. scholarship for one year, and extension for another three years after positive evaluation. The post-doctoral position is for two years

•      the possibility to join a dynamic and stimulating group of researchers working on all 4 major aspects of animal behaviour (causation, development, function, evolution), with emphasis on sexual selection, parental care, and hormone-behaviour relationships in birds (See and

•      starting date: 1st of November 2013 – 1st of January 2014



•      Please send all application material including 1) your curriculum vitae 2) a brief (250 words) summary of your reasons for applying and 3) contact information of max. 2 referees) as single PDF-file to: Closing date: 13.10.13.

•      For more information, contact Prof. Wendt Müller (wendt.mü or Prof. Marcel Eens (

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