We offer an internship to a student (bachelor or master) interested in experimental ecology, behaviour and evolution. The student will participate in a project that aims to quantify variation in behaviour (exploration, activity and spatial learning) along an age-gradient of range expansion of the dragonfly Crocothemis erythraea. The Broad Scarlet (C. erythraeae) was one of the first species showing a clear range expansion associated with climate warming. The species with a mainly African origin became autochthonous in the Mediterranean in the mid eighties and continued expanding northwards throughout Europe in the subsequent decades.
During range expansion, individuals are subjected to diverse selective pressures, hence behaviour beneficial in established populations might differ from these favoured during range expansion. Knowledge about changes in behavioural traits during range expansion will improve our understanding of evolutionary processes taking place during range expansion and increase the ability to predict the distribution of biota under further climate warming.
Activities: the student will score exploration, activity and spatial learning from recorded videos of experiments designed to quantify these behavioural traits. This internship contributes to the students’ ability to execute experimental set-ups, analysis and statistics, and will be assigned to a motivated student who can work autonomously as well as collectively.
Practical details: The internship will have a duration of 4 – 6 weeks and will take place between 14/04/2016 and 15/06/2016 (exact start and end date can be discussed). The intern will be based at the ‘Station d’Ecologie Expérimentale du CNRS à Moulis’ (http://www.ecoex-moulis.cnrs.fr) at the foot of the Pyrenees.
Contact for CV and short motivation letter: Lieven Therry ([email protected]).