evolution | Scholarship for Nigerians and Africans

PhD Studentship in Implications for Seabird Conservation at University of Exeter, UK

We are inviting applications for this PhD studentship to commence October 2011. The studentship will provide an annual stipend of £17,290 for three years. Worldwide, seabirds are one of most threatened groups of birds. Global changes have had profoundly negative impacts on seabirds and their food, which in turn have been linked with wide scale population declines. More than 96% of seabirds nest colonially and theory suggests that group living can improve foraging success, particularly when food is ephemeral. Therefore current declines in colony sizes, coupled with changes in food availability, could have synergistic effects on the ability of seabirds to meet their energetic needs, with subsequent issues for sustainability. Despite this, we still understand little about the role that colonial living plays in seabird foraging ecology.
Theoretically, a key benefit of living as part of a group is improved foraging efficiency, which is believed to have been an important selection pressure shaping the evolution of coloniality. Foraging benefits may arise because; (1) conspecifics transfer information on the whereabouts of food when they return to the colony (the Information Centre Hypothesis), (2) group foraging is beneficial, and colonies provide a source of recruits to the foraging flock (the Recruitment Centre Hypothesis), or (3) individuals are attracted to the presence of food by aggregating conspecifics (local enhancement). Although there is strong empirical and theoretical evidence for information sharing, particularly at some avian communal roosts, our insights into the relevance of information transfer across colonial animals is limited. Understanding the impact of conspecific behaviour on foraging success has clear fundamental implications, but may also have significant conservation relevance. For colonial species reliant upon conspecifics to find particularly patchy, ephemeral or cryptic food, population declines may greatly compromise long term stability. These Allee-type effects may be further exacerbated if prey availability declines to such a degree that some populations are unable to obtain sufficient food to meet their energetic requirements. Assessing the relevance of information transfer for foraging efficiency in a colonial nesting seabird of conservation concern that is experiencing population declines and changes in fish availability is the central theme of this studentship.

Scholarship Application Deadline: 22 May 2011.

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PhD Position Opened in Switzerland for Physicists and Computer Graphics Scientists

In the context of a multidisciplinary study combining mathematical modelling, computer science, and evolutionary developmental genetics, we still have ONE position available for an outstanding, highly motivated, and creative physicist / computer scientist / engineer with strong interests / skills in computer graphics and numerical simulation approaches. The positions are for 3 years or more and can start anytime (negotiable).
This new project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) and the University of Geneva, integrates the expertise of three research groups for an improved understanding of the mechanisms generating variation, complexity, and convergences at colour traits in
The successful candidates will develop and deploy advanced tools forB comprehensive acquisition, modelling, and mathematical analysis of high-resolution colour textures and 3D geometries from a large number of animal individuals in the laboratory as well as in the field.

Applications: Please send (combined into one single pdf file) a brief letter of interest, your CV, as well as contact information of two references to:
-Matthias Zwicker (zwicker [at] iam [dot] unibe [dot] ch), Institute of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, University of Bern, Switzerland. &
-Michel Milinkovitch (Michel.Milinkovitch [at] unige [dot] ch), Laboratory of Artificial & Natural Evolution, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Scholarship Application Deadline: Contact Employer

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10 PhD Fellowships at The IMPRS for Evolutionary Biology, Germany

The graduate school is dedicated to highest level of research and training in all areas of contemporary Evolutionary Biology. It is a joint initiative of the Max-Planck Institute of Evolutionary Biology, the University of Kiel and the Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences in Kiel (IFM Geomar). The graduate school offers an internationally competitive research environment with state of art facilities. The participating groups are working on a broad variety of research topics including molecular, behavioral, theoretical and organismal approaches.
The graduate program starts with a rotation period of three months followed by a PhD project of three years including seminars, courses and workshops. The language of the graduate school is English. Financial support is provided throughout the program

Scholarship Application Deadline: 15 May 2011
Further Scholarship Information and Application