Populations of ecological specialists decline due to their sensitivity to global environmental changes. Although various studies confirmed this pattern, wider context of evolutionary causes and ecological consequences of species’ specialization remains unclear. Proposed project focuses on elucidating these issues using birds as a study system. Birds are a taxon with detailed knowledge of ecological and life history traits, population and range sizes, phylogenetic relationships and extinction risk of all species. Within this project, we will use this information to learn more about evolutionary conservatism of ecological specialization (whereas avian species do not usually expand their niches after introduction outside native ranges, closely related species often show high variability in their niche breadth) and to focus on possible changes in specialization across species’ geographic ranges, e.g. in relation to their local densities. The applicant will also collect own field data to examine relationships among habitat specialization at the individual, population and species level, respectively. Finally, knowledge from the above mentioned relationships will be applied in the analysis predicting global extinction risk of particular species by different facets of their specialization.
We expect a motivated student with good experience in ornithology, able (after some training) to work independently in the field in Eastern Europe. The ideal candidate for this PhD position is interested in ecology and evolutionary biology, and is willing to learn new methods. He/she must have finished the MSc. (or equivalent) by September 2016 at the latest.
Time and place:
The student will work in a young team based at the Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Fieldwork will be conducted in the Czech Republic. The position is available for up to four years, starting in October 2016.
The PhD candidate’s net monthly income will start at 16.500 CZK (ca 610 EUR) in the first year, and may increase with experience and achievements during the study. (Note that living expenses in the Czech Republic are generally lower than in Western European countries.)
Jiří Reif (Institute for Environmental Studies, Charles University in Prague) – supervisor
David Hořák (Department of Ecology, Charles University in Prague) – co-supervisor
How to apply:
If interested, send a motivation letter, CV, publication list, title or abstract of Master (Diploma) thesis, and contact details of 2 senior scientists that can provide references on you in a single PDF file to [email protected] until February 10, 2016. Pre-selected candidates will be encouraged to submit an official application to the university.