PhD Student in Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
University of Zurich Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies

Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies

PhD student
100 %

We are looking for a PhD student - fully funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation for four years - to contribute to our research program investigating population responses to changing environments.

For more information, please contact Prof. Arpat Ozgul or visit our website.

Your responsibilities

A thorough understanding of how environmental drivers affect population dynamics requires simultaneous consideration of several demographic aspects: (i) spatiotemporal changes in environmental drivers, (ii) reaction norms of demographic rates to environmental drivers, (iii) interdependency among these life-history rates, and (iv) local and regional density-dependent feedbacks on these rates. These aspects are all intertwined, and each can differentially affect a population's response to environmental change. However, demographic studies often ignore some or all of these aspects due to lack of both data and a unified analytical framework capable of capturing the complexity of these demographic interactions. As a result, it is currently unknown how the omissions of one or several of these demographic aspects influences population projections in the face of environmental change.

The PhD student will work as part of a research team and investigate nonlinear relationships between vital rates and environmental/social variables, context-dependency of covariation among vital rates (i.e., tradeoffs and individual heterogeneity), and how these interactions influence population responses to environmental change. Depending on interest, the student can utilise long-term, individual-based datasets from several animal and plant populations, an experimental microcosm system, as well as purely theoretical models.

Your profile

  • MSc degree (or equivalent) in population ecology, evolutionary biology, biostatistics, or a relevant field.
  • Knowledge of and demonstrated interest in eco-evolutionary dynamics in changing environments.
  • Ability to work independently as well as strong interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong quantitative skills, proficiency in statistical analysis and/or demographic modelling.

What we offer

We offer an academic degree in a dynamic research environment. The PhD student will be an active member of the Population Ecology Research Group at the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, and have extended research visits to the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield. You will have ample opportunity to collaborate with an international network of ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and biostatisticians. The salary will be based on the guidelines of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The city of Zurich is regarded as having high quality of life and standard of living with remuneration to match. During hot summers the lake, river, and many outdoor pools provide cooling opportunities, and the close-by Alps cater for many summer and winter outdoor activities. Local and regional (Europe) rail networks meet at Zurich's main train station and provide convenient and low environmental-impact travel to many European cities. The city's international airport is convenient when required.

How to apply:
Please send the following application material in a single PDF file to Jacqueline Moser Screening of applicants will start on March 1st, 2020 and continue until the position is filled.

  • Cover letter indicating the position you are applying to, your motivation, and expectations from this research
  • Detailed CV, including publications
  • One page summary of your MSc degree
  • Contact information for two references

Place of work

Irchel Campus, Zurich

Start of employment

As early as May 2020, no later than August 2020

Further information

Prof. Dr. Arpat Ozgul

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