Belgium: Ph.D. student in Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology at University of Antwerp

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Job description

Senescence, the progressive deterioration of performance with advancing age, is increasingly documented in natural animal populations. However, ageing is not only relevant for the ageing individual, there is increasing evidence that offspring quality changes as a function of parental age. But very little is known why offspring from older parents may have decreased survival prospects. In the proposed project we, therefore, shift the focus on the transgenerational aspects of ageing. We will apply sophisticated cross-fostering experiments in a wild population of individually marked Lesser black-backed gulls, combined with cross-sectional, longitudinal and state-of-the-art behavioural tracking approaches to ultimately improve our understanding of the evolutionary ecology of senescence.


Profile and requirements

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

•        you are an enthusiastic and motivated student with a strong interest in Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology, who likes working in the field under at times harsh conditions. Preferentially you have already experience in fieldwork, but this is not essential.

•        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 project will be carried out in close collaboration with Ghent University (joint FWO funded project).

•        during fieldwork, you will form part of a small research team (2-3 PhD students, 2 field assistants) studying different aspects of gull ecology.

•        based at the University of Antwerp, the successful applicant will join a young, dynamic and stimulating group of researchers working on all 4 major aspects of animal behaviour (causation, development, function, evolution), with particular emphasis on bird family life (maternal effects, phenotypic plasticity, parent-offspring conflict & co-adaptation) (see and

•        the preferred starting date is 1 March or 1 April 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: Wendt.Mueller(at) Review of the applications will start on 3 February 2014 and continue until the position is filled, interviews of short-listed candidates will be held early February.

•        For more information, contact Prof. Wendt Müller (Wendt.Mueller(at) or Prof. Luc Lens (Luc.Lens(at)

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