vendredi 20 janvier 2017


Tracked around the clock
Lesser black-backed gulls, a long-lived migratory seabird, were commonly assumed to be generalists. However,  this  poorly  characterizes  the  foraging  habits  of  individual  gulls  -  individuals  tend  to specialize on one foraging strategy. Such inter-individual  variation in the use of an ecological niche is  increasingly  recognized  as  an  ecologically  relevant,  but  as  yet  underappreciated  phenomenon.  Its adaptive  significance  likely  depends  on:  (a)  the  predictability  of  a  food  resource  and  the heterogeneous  environmental  conditions  throughout  the  annual  cycle,  (b)  how  foraging specialization co-varies with other behavioural (“personality”), physiological or life history traits, and (c)  whether  consistency  in  foraging  restrains  behavioral  plasticity,  and  thus  the  ability  to  adapt  to environmental changes.
The implementation of  new state-of-the-art GPS tracking devices developed by UvA-bits (  and the installation of a high tech sensor network (LifeWatch Infrastructure, coordinated by the  Research  Institute  for Nature  and  Forest,  INBO) recently  allowed  to  collect  extremely  detailed and relevant information about the movements and foraging behavior of individual birds throughout the annual cycle. Since 2014 >100 individual lesser black-backed gulls have been fitted with such GPS tags.  This  extensive  data  set  provides  unique  opportunities  to  study  the  variation  of  foraging specialization and its functional consequences in a life history context. The postdoc will focus  on the analysis of this extensive dataset containing observations of individually marked (color-ringed) birds and  the  recordings  obtained  from  the  GPS  tracking  system.  In  addition,  the  postdoc  will  closely collaborate with 3 PhD-students appointed at the  University of Antwerp, respectively the University of Gent, who concentrate on  investigating  under field conditions  how  parental decisions about the level of investment into their current offspring vary with the  ability of an individual to respond to its biotic and abiotic environment.
We are seeking a highly motivated, enthusiastic and creative person with a PhD in biology. You will have experience with analyzing GPS-tracking data and abilities in the application of GIS. You will be familiar with statistical packages such as R and with applying modern movement ecology approaches.
You  have  competency  and  enthusiasm  for  the  processing  of  large  data  sets.  Demonstrated  publication record and fluency in English are required. You must have good communication skills and  be able to work in a team, experience with fieldwork would be helpful.
The  post  is  a  full-time  two-year  post-doctoral  position  with  possible  extension  depending  on performance and project funding, fixed term from 1 April2017 to 1 April 2019.
To apply, please send  in  a single pdf  file: (a) a statement of your research interests, motivation and suitability for this position, and (b) your CV  including a  list of publications and  (c)  the contact details of  two  references. Applications are to be sent to  Consideration of applications will commence on the 1st of March 2017, and continue until the position is filled.
For informal enquiries please contact Prof. Wendt Müller, Prof. Luc Lens, or Dr. Eric Stienen