Job Announcement
University of Münster, NC3

PhD Position - Niche construction in the red flour beetle

Application deadline: 14.01.2018
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PhD position: Niche construction in the red flour beetle

We invite applications for a PhD position to study niche construction in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum. The position is available for three years at the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity at the University of Münster in Germany. It is part of the recently funded collaborative research centre (SFB/TRR 212) entitled: A Novel Synthesis of Individualisation across Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC3), as granted by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The start date is from February 1st 2018 or soon thereafter.

Within this project, the interested candidate will experimentally study how flour beetles modify the microbial community of their environment, the flour. This form of niche construction is mediated by chemical secretions of the beetles. The project will test for the role of prior immunological experience of individuals, and analyse its long-term evolutionary consequences, using experimental evolution. The chemical ecology as well as the genetic underpinnings of the evolved phenotypes will be studied.

WWU is a large vibrant university hosting a number of excellent scientific institutions ( The Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity ( provides a stimulating research environment with a number of scientific groups researching on diverse topics centred on different aspects of the study of Evolution and the student can benefit from the structured PhD program offered by the Münster Graduate School of Evolution ( As a part of the collaborative research centre SFB/TRR 212 (, the project ( will involve intensive collaboration with consortium partners at the Universities of Münster and Bielefeld. The town of Münster itself is characterised by its many students and presents a dynamic environment with many cultural and social events throughout the year (

Qualifications: We search a highly motivated student of any nationality and those with the equivalent of a Master’s degree in evolution, behaviour, ecology or related fields are invited to apply. A background in any of the following subjects will be useful: previous experience with practical insect work, good molecular skills and an additional preference of previous experience with chemical ecology, immunology or bioinformatics and a good understanding of statistics. Applicants should have excellent communication skills and be able to work both independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team. The working language of the institute and the lab is English and good proficiency in spoken and written English is a requirement.

Please send your application in one single PDF file to Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz ( Included should be 1) a cover letter with a statement of your research interests and motivation (max. 1 page), 2) your CV including details of your research experience (with the abstract of your masters thesis) and 3) contact details of at least two referees.

Applications should be written in English and the deadline is the 14th of January 2018.

The salary will be for 36 months (TV-L E13/65%) with regular weekly working hours of 39 hours and 50 minutes. Applications of women are especially invited. In the case of similar qualification, competence and specific achievements, women will be considered on preferential terms within the framework of the legal possibilities. Preference will be given to disabled applicants in case of equivalent qualification.

© 15.12.2017 Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft e.V., DZG