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Student and Erasmus internships in aquatic ecology

New positions for 2018! Up to 3–4 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 2018. 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 Moria Robinson, 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 > 8).

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. Size and temperature dependence of trophic interactions. You will investigate the effects of temperature gradient on predator-prey interactions in one or several species of predators and prey.

2. Thermal performance windows and metabolic rates of aquatic invertebrates. You will measure metabolic rates of aquatic insects and other invertebrates on a temperature gradient to help understand the underlying allometries and the ability of species to withstand future effects of climate change.

3. Influence of temperature on prey selectivity. You will investigate the influence of a temperature gradient in the prey selectivity of an invertebrate predator.

4. Influence of temperature on predator interference. You will investigate the influence of a temperature gradient on interactions between predators in multiple-predator experiments.

5. Influence of temperature and/or habitat structure on predator and prey behaviour. You will perform behavioural experiments to study the influence of a temperature and/or habitat complexity gradient on selected species of predators and/or prey.

The work will 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 2018 to help start the experiments.
Advisors: D. Boukal (head of group), J. Mocq, M. Robinson and A. Landeira-Dabarca (postdocs).
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. 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 17 December 2017. 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: boukal AT entu.cas.cz (in English) or julien.mocq AT gmail.com (in French or English)

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