PhD Position on Heritability and Microevolution of Hormonal Traits in Germany, 2017

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International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology is inviting applications for PhD Position on Heritability and Microevolution of Hormonal Traits. 

Our goal is to unravel evolutionary patterns in flexible physiological traits such as circulating hormone concentrations. Unlike stable traits like morphology, the evolution of highly flexible traits like hormones is still hardly understood. Since hormones regulate a wide range of fitness-relevant traits, it is important to understand their scope for plastic or micro-evolutionary changes to understand the potential of populations to adapt to the rapid ongoing changes in environmental conditions worldwide. We are currently focusing on the ‘stress’ hormone corticosterone, assessing circulating concentrations as well as responses to environmental and social conditions in wild populations of great tits (Parus major). We are assembling a growing database of hormone concentrations of individuals taken at multiple times of the year, together with measures of fitness and genetic pedigree. We routinely collect correlative data on hormone variation relative to environmental and social variation and have embarked on experimental approaches to establishing hormonal reaction norms.

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student to continue and expand the field and database work to quantify the plasticity and heritability of corticosterone traits. We welcome the use of experimental approaches such as reaction norms to quantify hormonal responses of individuals. We are also able to conduct experiments in captivity. Experience in work with birds, hormones or databases is advantageous but not required. A driver’s licence is required for field work. Interested students are encouraged to contact Prof. Michaela Hau [email protected] for further information and discussion of ideas.

All PhD projects are fully funded for at least 3 years. The salary will be paid according to the collective agreement for civil service employees (TVöD). The IMPRS for Organismal Biology offers a dedicated teaching program, high-quality research experience, and outstanding research facilities in an inspiring research and living environment. The working language is English. Each PhD student receives individual supervision and mentoring and is guided in her/his research work by a PhD advisory committee.

Eligibility: Outstanding students of all nationalities with a deep commitment to basic research in Organismal Biology are invited to apply. Applicants should hold an MSc or equivalent degree in biology or a related discipline at the point of enrollment and need to be fluent in written and spoken English.

Nationality: Outstanding students of all nationalities with a deep commitment to basic research in Organismal Biology are invited to apply.

Application Deadline: Please apply exclusively on our online application portal on no later than Jan 15, 2017.

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