Postdoctoral Fellow on Phylogenetic Methods to Study Trait Evolution

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 02 Oct 2023

Ref. No. SU FV-4793-22

at the Department of Zoology . Closing date: 10 February 2023.

The Department of Zoology consists of five divisions: Ecology, Ethology, Functional Morphology, Population Genetics, and Systematics and Evolution. At present the department accommodates 45–50 staff and a similar number of PhD students. The advertised position will be part of the Division of Ethology.

Project description
A postdoctoral research position focused on applying phylogenetic comparative methods to study behavioural and morphological trait evolution is available in John Fitzpatrick’s research group in the Department of Zoology at Stockholm University. The aim of this project is to examine and characterize trait evolution using large scale macroevolutionary approaches. Building on the lab’s recent work in this area, the project will take advantage of detailed trait databases to describe the evolution of behavioural and morphological traits looking across the animal tree of life. A range of comparative projects are possible depending on the interest and expertise of the applicant. Substantial infrastructure in the Department of Zoology allows for comparative approaches to be applied to a wide variety of taxa. There is also scope to combine experimental approaches (e.g., assessing social and sexual traits) in a phylogenetic framework closely related Poeciliid fish species maintained in laboratory populations within the Department of Zoology.

Main responsibilities
This position is 100 % research within the project described above.

Qualification requirements
Postdoctoral positions are appointed primarily for purposes of research. Applicants are expected to hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent degree from another country. 

Assessment criteria
The degree must have been completed at latest before the employment decision is made, but no more than three years before the closing date. An older degree may be acceptable under special circumstances. Special reasons refer to sick leave, parental leave, elected positions in trade unions, service in the total defense, or other similar circumstances as well as clinical attachment or service/assignments relevant to the subject area.

PhD degrees should preferably be focused on Evolutionary Biology, Ethology, Behavioural Ecology, Phylogenetics, or a related subject.

We are looking for candidates with a strong interest in evolutionary biology and phylogenetic methods to assess trait evolution. The candidate must have proven phylogenetic analytical ability and an interest in examining macroevolutionary questions. Experience with a range of phylogenetic analyses (e.g., phylogenetic models, ancestral state reconstruction, evolutionary rates analyses, etc.) is meriting. Bayesian phylogenetic approaches, applying machine learning to biological data, and tree building are not required skills but are meriting. An ideal candidate would have substantial knowledge and experience in applying phylogenetic analyses, be comfortable working with and amending R scripts, demonstrate an ability to extract and compile data from various sources into a database, employ systematic search techniques, and be willing to learn new methods as needed. We are looking for a candidate with knowledge and interest in evolutionary biology generally, and more detailed knowledge on either sexual selection, social behaviour, colour/pattern evolution, and/or behavioural evolution. The candidate should also be open to testing a range of evolutionary hypotheses (rather than focusing only on one question or study system).

In the appointment process, special attention will be given to research skills. We are searching for a candidate with experience in the field of evolutionary biology and animal behaviour. Criteria used to assess this ability are: the applicant’s publication record and documented knowledge and achievements within the described research area, the candidate’s capabilities with regards to speaking and writing in English, analytical thinking, creativity, initiative, independence, and team work performance. The applicant’s earlier experience within the field of research can be of relevance especially when further documented by courses, independent research work, personal references, interview and an application indicating the applicant’s motivation in written form.

Terms of employment
The position involves full-time employment for a minimum of two years and a maximum of three years, with the possibility of extension under special circumstances.. Start date around 2023-04-01, or as per agreement. If an alternative start date is preferable, please indicate this in your cover letter.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

Further information about the position can be obtained from Dr John Fitzpatrick (host and project leader), .

Union representatives
Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64, , Alejandra Pizarro Carrasco (Fackförbundet ST/Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 34 89, , and (SEKO).

Apply for the position at Stockholm University's recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2 references (reference letters will be requested only from shortlisted applicants)

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of publications
  • Research proposal (no more than 2 pages) describing:
    – proposed project plan (i.e., what you would ideally like to do with the position)
    – what makes you suitable for the project in question
  • Copy of PhD diploma
  • Publications in support of your application (no more than 2 files) and a list up to three representative publications (or manuscripts in prep) with a one paragraph summary of key findings and scientific value for each.

The instructions for applicants are available at: How to apply for a position .

You are welcome to apply!

Stockholm University contributes to the development of sustainable democratic society through knowledge, enlightenment and the pursuit of truth.

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