jeudi 24 novembre 2016

PhD offer - Alien parrots: social and genetic structure of an invasive population - Univ of Sheffield (UK)

PhD offer:
Alien parrots: social and genetic structure of an invasive population
Lead sup ervisor: Prof. Ben Hatchwell, University of Sheffield, APS, UK
Co-supervisors:   Dr. Dan Franks, Biology & Computer Science, University of York, UK
                             Dr. Juan Carlos Senar; Natural History Museum of Barcelona, Spain.
Invasions by alien species are an increasing threat to global biodiversity and an understanding of the process of invasion is a key requirement if we are to mitigate the impact of this threat. The main focus of studies of invasive species has been on the species traits and population dynamic processes associated with successful invasions. However, individual behaviours, social interactions and kinship are also likely to play vital roles in determining dispersal and other key demographic traits influencing invasion success, but these have been overlooked in previous studies. This project will take a multidisciplinary approach to fill this important gap in the study of biological invasions.
The studentship involves study of an invasive parrot, the monk parakeet Myiopsitta monachus, a species that has colonized cities across Europe, North America and Asia. This species is a highly social cooperativ e breeder that is unique among parrots in building communal nests that may house several pairs. The student will use observational, experimental and molecular genetic approaches in a population of individually marked monk parakeets living in Barcelona, the largest European population (>5000 birds). The growth of this invasive population has been well documented from its early stages and its numbers are currently increasing exponentially, with a growing impact on native biodiversity and agricultural production.
The student will:
1. Determine the genetic structure of the population at spatial and social scales ranging from individual nests to the whole city.
2. Test the roles of behavioural interactions and relatedness as drivers of dispersal and social associations using social network analysis.
3. Investigate how cooperation and conflict over individual investment in communal nests determine the decision to initiate new colonies.
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