One Postdoc or PhD position in evolutionary ecology and functional genomics is available at the Faculty of Biology at Bielefeld University in the Evolutionary Biology group (PD Dr Tim Schmoll, see in collaboration with the Department of Animal Behaviour (Dr Peter Korsten, see The position is available immediately for 24 months (Postdoc) or until 31.12.2021 (PhD) and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the collaborative research centre A Novel Synthesis of Individualisation across Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC3).

The goal of this project is to test how male Zebra Finches conform to their social niche as set by the prevailing level of sperm competition. This will allow us to understand how individual variation in sexual competition generates individual variation, and covariation, in both competitive traits and parenting behaviour. The successful candidate will closely work together with a PhD student to (i) quantify male social niche conformance by analysing adjustment of sexual competitiveness including behavioural (e.g. aggression) and ejaculate (e.g. sperm motility) traits; (ii) identify the underlying mechanisms of social niche conformance on the hormonal (via endocrinological profiling) and the gene expression (via RNAseq) levels; (iii) assess the adaptive significance of niche conformance under a niche match/mismatch paradigm; and (iv) test for trade-offs between investment in sexual competitiveness versus paternal care.

The collaborative research centre: The position will be embedded within a larger collaborative research centre (SFB) comprising 20 principle investigators, 15 postdocs and 18 PhD students based at Bielefeld University, the University of Münster and the University of Jena. Full details of the SFB can be found at

Applicants’ profiles

We are seeking a bright, highly motivated and creative student with a PhD (for the Postdoc level) or university degree (for the PhD level) in a relevant discipline with specializations in one or more of the following fields: bioinformatics, transcriptomics/genomics, animal behaviour, behavioural ecology, behavioural physiology, evolutionary ecology, and/or veterinary science.

Application procedure

To apply, please provide: (i) a letter of motivation (maximum two pages) including a statement of your research interests, and skills and experience relevant to the position; (ii) a CV including your publication list; (iii) names and contact details of two referees willing to write confidential letters of recommendation. All materials should be emailed as a single PDF file to both principal investigators: and Review of applications will begin February 6th 2019 and continue until the position is filled. The successful candidate should start as soon as possible after the decision. For further information on the project and the departments, please contact Tim Schmoll or Peter Korsten with any informal inquiries.

For more information, please see here: Bielefeld Postdoc or PhD Evolutionary Ecology