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Subject: Fully funded PhD studentship: Individual variation in fish behaviour, Univ. Nottingham
From: Ben Chapman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 3 Jun 2014 19:31:13 +0100

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I have a fully funded PhD position available in my lab at the University of Nottingham, working with the North Uist sticklebacks to ask questions about the evolution and ecology of individual behavioural variation (aka animal personality). Funding available to all EU citizens. I also have opportunities for self-funded projects. Please spread the word to talented students interested in postgrad research! Advert below...




A great deal of research in recent years has revealed that animals from a wide range of species display consistent individual behaviours (known as animal personality, behavioural types, temperament), and that this individual variation can have powerful ecological consequences. In this project the student will focus upon unravelling some of the ecological factors important in the evolution of animal personality, using the three-spined stickleback as a model system.

Sticklebacks occupy a range of habitats which vary naturally in their parasite abundance and diversity, predation regime, and resource availability. The project will involve experimental lab-work, characterising individual fish for personality traits and parasite fauna, infection experiments, and also fieldwork to explore natural behavioural variation among and within populations in the adaptive radiation of sticklebacks on the island of North Uist in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, from which longitudinal data is available on parasite abundance and diversity, predation risk, and resource availability. Key questions include: how do parasites, predation and resource availability interact to produce patterns of individual behavioural variation in natural populations? Do fish with different personality types vary in their parasite load, and if so what is the mechanism driving this? What are the fitness outcomes of personality types under divergent ecological conditions? How does documented life-history variation, within- and between-populations relate to behavioural variation?

Applicants should have a good degree in a relevant subject, and a strong interest and enthusiasm for evolutionary biology/ecology/animal behaviour. Previous fieldwork or experience working with animal behaviour and/or fish parasites, and a full driving licence would be beneficial but are not essential. The project will be co-supervised by Assoc. Prof. Andrew Maccoll.

Informal enquiries can be made to Ben Chapman: [log in to unmask]<[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]>.

Applications, with a detailed CV and the names and addresses of 2 referees, should be sent to Dr Ben Chapman, School of Life Sciences, Room B108, Life Sciences Building, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2UH. Interviews for this studentship are expected to be held mid-July, but the vacancy is open until filled.

Funding Notes:
This studentship is available for a period of at least 3 years starting on 1st October 2014 and provides a stipend of 13,863 per annum.

Ben Chapman
Senior Research Fellow
Ecology & Evolution Group
University of Nottingham

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