PhD Scholarship in Evolutionary Biology at University of Amsterdam in Netherlands, 2016

Publish Date: Jan 30, 2016

Deadline: Feb 06, 2016

PhD candidate in Evolutionary Biology

Faculty of Science – Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Publication date---6 January 2016
Level of education---University
Salary indication---€2,173 to €2,778 gross per month
Closing date---5 February 2016
Hours---38 hours per week
Vacancy number---16-005

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. The institute covers a wide range of subjects in both fundamental and applied research. Our scientific studies aim at a better understanding of the dynamics of ecosystems at all relevant levels, from genes to climate change, using a truly multi-disciplinary approach.

Project description

Supported by a NWO – ALW open programme grant, we have a vacancy for a PhD student on a project entitled: “Understanding sexual selection: which sex leads the dance when both are signallers?”

The most conspicuous form of sexual selection is Fisherian runaway selection, which occurs when one sex produces a pronounced sexual signal that is used by the other sex to choose a mating partner. However, when closely related species have very similar mating signals, these signals are important for species recognition to minimize the risk of interspecific attraction, in which case mating signals are likely to be under stabilizing selection. In both cases the underlying assumption is that one sex is the signaller and the other sex the responder. The forces of sexual selection are likely more complex when both sexes are signallers and responders. Such sexual communication occurs in one of the most diverse group of animals: moths. In moths, the species-specific female sex pheromones to which males are attracted from a distance have been studied in detail, because these pheromones can be used for pest management. However, at close-range males produce and emit a biosynthetically related but different pheromone, which is likely important for close-range female choice and/or male competition.

This project aims to determine the role of close-range courtship in generating variation in the sexual communication channel to assess the strength of mutual mate choice in a species where we have found a within-population polymorphism in the female sex pheromone. Understanding the forces of sexual selection in the speciation process is imperative for understanding biodiversity patterns in general and for pest management in particular.

This project will combine behavioral and chemical analyses with genetic (quantitative trait locus) analyses to answer the questions whether the female and male sex pheromone genetically linked, what are the genes underlying the male pheromone variation, what is the importance of male sex pheromone variation in female choice and what is its role in male-male competition.


  • MSc in Biology, with focus on evolution, and interest in chemical ecology and entomology;
  • experience with molecular biological techniques, preferably also with genetic analyses;
  • interest to combine laboratory and field studies with genetic and chemical analyses;
  • skills in experimental design and statistical analysis;
  • proficiency in scientific writing and communication;
  • ability to work in an international research team.

Further information

  • Dr. Astrid T. Groot (project leader, supervisor)
    T: +31(0) 20 525 5400


The position will start preferably March or April 2016. The full-time appointment will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of four years. Initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of four years. The full-time gross monthly salary will range from €2,173 in the first year to €2,778 in the final year, according to the Dutch salary scales for PhD candidates. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable. The annual salary will be increased by 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3 % end-of-year bonus.

Job application

Applications should include a detailed CV, a motivation letter, and the names and contact addresses of two references from which information about the candidate can be obtained.

Applications should be sent before 6 February 2016 to Please quote vacancy number 16-005 in the subject field. Interviews will be held in the week of 15 February 2016.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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