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Student and Erasmus internships in aquatic ecology

New positions for 2019! Up to 4–5 Master internship positions focusing on population ecology and phenotypic plasticity of aquatic insects are available in our group at the Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia and Institute of Entomology in Ceske Budejovice (Czech Republic) in the spring and summer of 2019. The positions are defined relatively broadly and successful candidates will have the opportunity to partly tailor the topic to their personal interests and skills. The students will work primarily under the supervision of the postdocs Julien Mocq, Andrea Landeira-Dabarca and Bruno Carreira, and collaborate with PhD students in the lab. We offer detailed hands-on training during the entire lifetime of your project. Our previous interns have achieved very good to excellent results, and three previous internships already resulted in two papers (Sentis et al. 2015, Sentis et al. 2017) in Global Change Biology (IF ~ 9).

Possible topics cover thermal dependence of trophic interactions, physiology and behaviour in aquatic invertebrates. The successful candidate is expected to carry out experimental work in the lab, but applicants with interest in literature review on the topic will also be considered. Key topics and outline of the work:

1. Influence of heavy metals on aquatic invertebrates. You will perform field experiments to investigate the effects of heavy metals pollution on survival and growth rates from different species of aquatic invertebrates (Supervisor: A. Landeira-Dabarca).

2. Aquatic life in post-industrial environments. This subject falls within a large project studying human made habitats: fly ash lagoons (highly polluted) and sand pits (naturalized habitats). You will perform laboratory and/or field experiments to investigate the effects of heavy metal pollution on life history traits of tadpoles (Supervisor: B. Carrera).

3. Urban environments and the heat island effect. This project will study the effect of urbanization on the life history of a model species, the snail Lymnaea stagnalis. You will conduct laboratory experiments to study populations of L. stagnalis across an urbanization gradient to determine the influence of their thermal background on life history traits (Supervisor: B. Carrera).

4. Food webs under climate change: temperature dependence of interaction strengths in aquatic macroinvertebrates. You will be involved in a set of experiments investigating how predator-prey interactions change along varying temperature regimes. Your goal will be to investigate how climate change influence trophic strengths within macroinvertebrate communities and how this affects macroinvertebrate food webs (Supervisors: A. Csercsa, S. Dijoux, D. Boukal).

5. Predators under climate change: temperature dependence of predator behaviour. You will investigate the influence of a temperature gradient on predator behavior, such as the phenomenon of prey switching and the associated mechanisms, in laboratory experiments (Supervisor: J. Mocq, D. Boukal).

All topics include collection of animals in the wild, carrying out the experiments, and statistical analyses of data.

Starting Date: Negotiable but preferably in late March/April 2019 to help start the experiments.
Advisors: D. Boukal (head of group), J. Mocq, A. Landeira-Dabarca and B. Carreira (postdocs), A. Csercsa and S. Dijoux (PhD students).
Duration: between 3 and 6 months, with possible extensions. Shorter stays may be accommodated in one of the main topics.

Stipend: Successful candidates will need to secure most or all of their funds. ERASMUS SPM (Student Mobility for Placement, ~350 Euros/month) or another similar European scholarship or a 'bourse de mobilité internationale sur critères sociaux' is enough to cover basic living costs and shared accommodation in student dormitories or in private for the entire duration of the stay. Exceptionally good performance will be supported with an additional Czech stipend.
For more information about major French scholarships see here, here, here and here.
If you are not in France and would like to apply, please contact us.

We are seeking highly motivated students with good organizational skills and strong interests in quantitative ecology, behavioral ecology or evolutionary ecology. Master students in biology, ecology, entomology, limnology or a related field are welcome. Students interested in experimental work are particularly encouraged to apply. Candidates should be sufficiently fluent in English to be able to engage in discussions and write the report (French is a plus). Previous experience with aquatic invertebrates, laboratory experiments, use of spreadsheets (e.g. Excel), statistical analyses in R, and/or predator-prey models will be appreciated.

To apply, please send your CV, motivation letter (1 page maximum), and names and contact information for two references to David Boukal (boukal AT entu.cas.cz) or Julien Mocq (Julien.Mocq AT gmail.com) no later than 1 November 2018. Interviews and candidate selection will commence immediately afterwards. Informal enquiries are welcome - please contact us by email.

Contact information:

Department of Ecosystem Biology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia &
Biology Centre AS CR, Institute of Entomology, Laboratory of Aquatic Insects and Relict Ecosystems
Branisovska 31, CZ-37005 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
www: here and here
email: julien.mocq AT gmail.com (preferably in English, in French otherwise) or boukal AT entu.cas.cz (in English).

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