Job Announcement
University Jena, Institute of Ecology und Evolution

PhD position in Evolutionary Ecology of Predictability in Behavior

Application deadline: 14.01.2018
[printable version .pdf]

A PhD position in evolutionary ecology of predictability in behavior is available at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany. The position is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the recently granted collaborative research center (SFB/TRR 212) entitled: A Novel Synthesis of Individualization across Behavior, Ecology and Evolution: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC3).

The project:The project will use escape behavior in grasshoppers as the model system for studying the causes and consequences of (un)predictability and flexibility in behavior. While individuals are known to vary in average behavior (‘animal personalities’), variation in predictability/flexibility has been largely neglected, partly because of the methodological challenges in estimating variability. The project thus aims to explore a new dimension of individual specialization in animal behavior. The evolutionary ecology of predictability will be approached from multiple angles, making use of field work, laboratory breeding, quantitative genetic analysis and experimentation. We will use newly developed statistical tools for estimating individual predictability.

The collaborative research center: The positions will be embedded within a larger collaborative research center (SFB) comprising 18 principle investigators, 8 postdocs and 16 PhD students based at Bielefeld University, the University of Münster and the University of Jena. The aim of the SFB is to produce a conceptual and empirical synthesis of individualization across behavior, ecology and evolution. The SFB will provide exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and academic networking, together with structured training, scientific exchange and early career support programs. For more information, visit the SFB website(

Main responsibilities

  • Management of a laboratory population and setup of mating experiments,
  • implementation of standardized behavioral trials with grasshoppers,
  • analysis of behavioral data using advanced statistical methods,
  • implementation of a computer simulation for studying the fitness consequences of predictability,
  • collaboration with other research groups in the collaborative research center,
  • writing scientific publications for international peer-reviewed journals.

Applicant’s profile

We seek a bright and highly motivated candidate with

  • a Master’s degree in a relevant field, like evolutionary or behavioral ecology,
  • solid knowledge in basic statistics, including experience with statistical software such as R,
  • interest in experimental laboratory and field work,
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English,
  • programming experience and documented experience with scientific writing will be advantageous.


The position is available from 01/02/2018 or as soon as possible thereafter and will be fixed-term till end of 2021 (almost 4 years). Salary will be paid according to Remuneration level 13 (65%) of the Wage Agreement for Public Service in the Federal States (TV-L).Severely handicapped people are given preference for equal qualifications, aptitude and professional qualifications.

Application procedure

The deadline for application is 14th January 2018 and interviews will take place shortly thereafter. To apply, please provide (i) a letter of motivation, including a statement of your research interests, skills and experience relevant to the position, (ii) a CV including publication list, (iii) names and contact details of two referees willing to write confidential letters of recommendation. All materials should be sent, preferentially as a single pdf file by email, to the address below. For further information on the projects and the department, please contact Holger Schielzeth (see email below) and/or visit the website of the Population Ecology Group Jena (

Prof. Dr. Holger Schielzeth, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Institute of Ecology und Evolution, Population Ecology Group, Dornburger Str. 159, 07743 Jena, Germany,

© 18.12.2017 Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft e.V., DZG