lundi 23 avril 2012

PhD Position in evolutionary ecology, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Causes and consequences of oxidative stress in avian semen

A fully-funded 3-year PhD position is available at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, to work on the causes and consequences of oxidative stress in avian semen. The position and research project are funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Oxidative stress is pervasive and represents a major selective pressure throughout the animal kingdom. In particular, vertebrate spermatozoa are very susceptible to oxidative stress, which may affect sperm performance and male fertility. Oxidative processes are thus hypothesised to have a profound impact on the development of male reproductive strategies and antioxidant allocation strategies in species where males face sperm competition, the circumstance where sperm of two or more males compete to fertilise the same batch of eggs. This project will test whether antioxidant allocation strategies underlie the development of male reproductive tactics in relation to social status as predicted by sperm competition models. This goal will be achieved using a combination of field observations, field experiments and aviary experiments on house sparrows Passer domesticus.

The ideal candidate is highly motivated and creative with a keen interest in evolutionary questions. He/she shows a capacity to work both independently and as a team member and has excellent writing and communication skills in English. She/he has a background in evolutionary biology, behavioural ecology and/or eco-physiology. Previous experience with bird handling, lab work, experimental design and/or statistics is not essential but desirable. A MSc (or equivalent) in Biology is required.

The successful applicant will be based at the Institute of Biology, University of Neuchâtel. This post offers opportunities to collaborate and interact with researchers working in related and complementary fields ( Our research groups are international and our working language is English. Knowledge of French is useful, but not essential. Neuchâtel is an attractive city, situated by a beautiful lake at the foot of the Jura mountains and facing the Berner Oberland mountains. The city provides plenty of opportunities for cultural activities and sports and offers a high quality of life. Its excellent public transports make it easy to leave the city and head to the mountains for outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing or skiing. Starting date: October 1, 2012.

Application requirements:
Applications should include 1) a 1-2 page cover letter outlining motivations, research interests and relevant experience, 2) a CV with list of publications (if any), 3) copies of academic qualifications, 4) the contact details of two academic referees, and 5) a 1-page description of your MSc project. Send the above as a single pdf-file to Applications received before July 31, 2012, will be given full consideration.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Fabrice Helfenstein, Assistant Professor SNF. Please note that I am currently based at the University of Berne, but, from September 1st 2012, will be based at the Institute of Biology, University of Neuchâtel, Emile-Argand 11, CH-2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Phone: +41 (0)79 427 44 24. Email: Webpage: http://www.i[Passer domesticus Copulating.jpeg] ex_eng.html