Netherlands: PhD candidate in Evolutionary Biology at University Amsterdam

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A PhD position is open with Dr Isabel Smallegange, in the Theoretical Ecology Research Group within the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam. The Theoretical Ecology group currently comprises 2 professors, 3 assistant professors, 1 post-doc, and 4 PhD students, and currently hosts two ERC Advanced Grants. It has active research programs in structured population modelling, resource-consumer interactions, epidemiology, demography, and evolutionary and eco-evolutionary theory.

The IBED is one of the eight research institutes within the Faculty of Science. Research in IBED includes Community Dynamics, Biodiversity and Evolution, and Geo-Ecology, and aims at a better understanding of the dynamics of ecosystems at all relevant levels, from genes to climate change, using a truly multidisciplinary approach.

Project description

This project is part of the MacGillavry research programmeEcology meets Evolution: Towards a new, mechanistic theory of eco-evolutionary dynamics of Dr Isabel Smallegange. This programme focuses on studying key processes of the interaction between evolutionary and ecological processes in a variable environment, and on explaining and accurately predicting changes in populations in space and time. The research programme includes experimental work, mostly with mite model systems, as well as theoretical work.

The goal of this PhD project is to understand how the conditional expression of male alternative reproductive phenotypes (ARPs) affects the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of populations. Male ARPs occur in many species and males typically develop either into fighters, which compete over access to females, or sneakers that sneak matings and thereby avoid direct competition. Although we have a thorough understanding of how different (a)biotic drivers singly influence the evolution and expression of ARPs, in what way a change in the environment, by selective harvesting for example, affects the interplay between ecological and evolutionary dynamics within ARP populations, however, is not clear. This PhD project comprises both theoretical and experimental work. The theoretical work focuses on contributing to the development of a Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) model and an Integral Projection Model (IPM) for a male dimorphic species. Some of the theoretical work will be done in collaboration with Dr Jacob Johansson from Lund University, Sweden. The experimental work consists of obtaining measures on energy expenditure to parameterize the DEB model, a common garden experiment to gain further insight into the heritability of male morph in the bulb mite Rhizoglyphus robini, and a long-term population experiment to study the eco-evolutionary consequences of selection on male morph. Both the DEB model and IPM can be used to create predictions on the consequences of selection through e.g. harvesting.


  • A Master’s degree in ecology, evolution or population biology;
  • experience with laboratory experiments, preferably with invertebrates;
  • Interest (preferably experience) in combining theory, laboratory studies, and data analysis;
  • good computer skills, including statistical analysis and preferably also programming in MatLab or R;
  • willingness to work in a multidisciplinary environment.

Conditions of employment

The project starts around mid 2014. The full-time appointment will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of four years (18 months plus a further 30 months after a positive evaluation) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. The PhD Student is also expected to assist in teaching of undergraduates. The full-time gross monthly salary will range from €2,083 in the first year to €2,664 in the final year, according to the Dutch salary scales for PhD students. The Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities is applicable. The annual salary will be increased by 8 % holiday allowance and 8,3 % end-of-year bonus.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

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