jeudi 7 avril 2011

PhD Position in Collective Animal Behavior

Applications are invited for a PhD position at the Research Center on Animal Cognition, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France. The position is funded by the Scientific Advisory Board of the Paul Sabatier University. The candidate will work within the Complex Dynamics and Interaction Networks in Animal Societies group (

The general aim of this project is to investigate the behavioral interactions involved in the coordinated motion of fish schools. Real data gathered on well-controlled experiments realized on fish schools will be analyzed using a combination of methods from quantitative ethology (video image analysis, behavioral and trajectometry analysis) and physics of collective motion, providing knowledge about the spatiotemporal transmission of information in a fish school.

A first series of experiments will be dedicated to the characterization of the spontaneous schooling behavior of a single fish, the characterization of interactions among pairs of fish and investigating the consequence of an increasing number of neighbors of the resulting motion of fish without any external perturbation. We will then build and validate a specific model from this data. A second series of experiments will be performed on large groups of fish
(100<500) where an external and controlled local perturbation will be introduced at a chosen location. The space-time development of the school response will be captured using high-speed highresolution imaging. The analysis of the experimental response data will provide a quantitative, statistically significant map of fast reaction of a group to a local perturbation.

The work will be conducted in close collaboration with a group of statistical physics and a group of applied mathematics.

The ideal candidate combines a good background in quantitative ethology with excellent programming skills (C++, MatLab) and some knowledge in statistical physics. Experience with Collective behavior models, data analysis, non-linear dynamical systems, or computational modeling would be an advantage. Proficiency in spoken and written English will be well appreciated.

For further information about this position, contact Dr. Guy Theraulaz,, or Dr.
Jacques Gautrais, Application letters including a CV, research experience, a short statement of research interests, and contact details of two referees should be sent by email to Dr. Guy Theraulaz.