3-year Postdoctoral research position

Dispersal plasticity in microcosms

We are accepting applications for a 3-year early researcher postdoc position beginning October 2019 (later starting date possible) to work on a project focused on the evolutionary causes and consequences of dispersal plasticity using experimental microcosms.


Growing evidence suggests that instead of dispersing randomly, individuals can modify their dispersal decisions depending on the environmental context to selectively stay in or disperse toward habitats that maximize their performance. This process, named habitat choice, has potential major implications for ecological and evolutionary dynamics (see for instance Jacob et al. 2017 Nature Ecol. Evol.; Jacob et al. 2018. PNAS).

The postdoc will join a dynamic international team whose research interests range from understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying individual phenotypes, including dispersal, to the consequences of variability in dispersal strategies and other phenotypic traits for populations and communities, using both theory and experiments. He/she will primarily focus on quantifying intraspecific variability in dispersal strategies, identifying the environmental conditions that favour dispersal plasticity, and quantifying its consequences for ecological and evolutionary dynamics, using microcosms of a ciliate, Tetrahymena thermophila. He/she will furthermore be encouraged to contribute to the project objectives by developing synergistic projects based on their own interests and expertise. He/she will also have the opportunity to closely interact with theoreticians in order to set-up experiments to validate or reject theoretically-derived predictions.

The position will be co-supervised by Prof. Nicolas Schtickzelle (UCLouvain, Belgium) and Dr. Staffan Jacob (Theoretical and Experimental Ecology Station, CNRS, France). Experiments will be conducted in both labs depending on the appropriate equipment and expertise, including interactions with the other researchers collaborating on the project. We are looking for a highly motivated and dynamic candidate with deep conceptual interests in evolutionary ecology and ideally in phenotypic plasticity and dispersal. Previous experience in microbiology, molecular biology and cytometry are beneficial but not mandatory.


Applicants should send a cover letter (1-2 pages describing motivation for the present project and previous and current research activities) and CV (including list of publications) to Prof. N. Schtickzelle (nicolas.schtickzelle@uclouvain.be) and Dr S. Jacob (staffan.jacob@sete.cnrs.fr), before March 29, 2019. Interested candidates that are currently finishing their PhD are strongly encouraged to apply. Short-listed candidates will be interviewed in late April.

Note that specific funding rules for this position limit eligibility to early stage researchers (<6 years post-PhD defense) who have lived less than 12 months in Belgium during the past 3 years.