[MARMAM] PhD opportunity - seal behaviour
s.d.twiss at durham.ac.uk
s.d.twiss at durham.ac.uk
Thu Jan 22 06:37:04 PST 2009
We wish to announce the following PhD studentship opportunity.
PROJECT TITLE: The ontogeny of personality in grey seals (Halichoerus grypus).
SUPERVISORS: Dr. Sean Twiss (Durham University)
Dr. Patrick Pomeroy (SMRU, University of St. Andrews)
FUNDING: This project is in competition for funding from various sources (UK
research councils, Durham Doctoral Fellowships, charitable trusts). Success
will depend on the quality of applications received, relative to those for
APPLICATION DEADLINE: 15th of February 2009
APPLICATION PROCEDURE: see below, or via the following link:
PROJECT BACKGROUND: It is now widely recognised that non-human animals have
personalities, defined as individual behavioural differences that are
consistent over time and/or across contexts. Recent studies have demonstrated
the existence of personalities in a remarkably broad range of taxa from mammals
to molluscs. Such personality traits have been shown to be heritable and
therefore subject to selection, with potentially significant impacts on
individual fitness. However, as yet the vast majority of studies of personality
in non-human species have been restricted to laboratory studies, and there have
been many recent calls for research that examines the ecological relevance of
personality in natural systems.
This studentship will capitalise upon an existing long term study of
individual variation in behaviour and reproductive performance in the grey seal
to ask if maternal and offspring (pup) behavioural types (personalities) are
correlated, and to examine the role of early personality type on social
relationships in weaned pups. The main objectives of this studentship will be:
(1) To test for correlations between maternal and offspring indices of
behavioural type. (2) To test whether offspring behavioural type is predicted
by maternal behavioural type or maternal and/or pup state (body condition) and
whether this differs for male and female pups. (3) To examine ontogenetic
changes in pup behavioural types during lactation and beyond weaning. (4) To
examine the impact of behavioural type on the social behaviour of male and
female weaned pups within the breeding colony.
The project will involve extensive field based behavioural observations of
individually identified grey seals at breeding colonies around the UK combined
with novel in-field quantitative experimental tests of individual personality.
Candidates will require the ability to conduct prolonged field work in isolated
and harsh conditions as part of a small field research team. Candidates should
demonstrate a capability for planning and implementing structured field
observations and behavioural experiments. An understanding and appreciation of
behavioural and evolutionary ecology is essential, and experience in
multivariate statistics is desirable.
TRAINING: The student will gain extensive training in field behavioural
observation, compilation and maintenance of photo-ID database, spatial data
manipulation and analyses within a GIS, statistical analyses (including
quantifying personality and social associations), organisation of fieldwork
logistics and safety in remote, isolated locations. The student will present
work at national and international conferences.
To take advantage of all funding possibilities, applications must be received
by (or on) the 15th of February.
All applications for postgraduate study must be made online via the Graduate
School at http://www.dur.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/.
In addition, a full CV and covering letter (detailing your reasons for applying
for the project) should be emailed to Dr Sean Twiss at s.d.twiss at durham.ac.uk
If you have any further questions about the School, the University or the
application process you should, in the first instance, contact Ashley Graven,
Research Administrator in the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
Email: ashley.graven at durham.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)191 334 1200
School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Durham DH1 3LE
STUDYING IN DURHAM:
Information about the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences can be found
on our website
Information about the postgraduate community and the University as a whole can
be found on the web pages
http://www.dur.ac.uk/postgraduate/ and http://www.dur.ac.uk/about/.
Dr. Sean Twiss,
Lecturer in Behavioural Ecology,
Zoology Degree Route Coordinator,
School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences,
The University of Durham,
Durham, DH1 3LE,
E-mail: s.d.twiss at durham.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)191 334 1350 (office)
Tel: +44 (0)191 334 1247 (lab)
Fax: +44 (0)191 334 1201
More information about the MARMAM