Hosting structure : Department of Aquaculture & fish Biology, Hólar University – Iceland
Dates : from September 2021 to January 2022, but discussable
Context of the study:
The Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus, AC) is one of the only 7 species of fish in Icelandic freshwaters, which makes it emblematic to this country and a preservation priority. It occupies extremely variable ecological niches and shows a extended adaptative polymorphism. Indeed, the AC is found as several sympatric morphs thriving in very different types of habitats, from anadromous to benthic and pelagic lake-resident morphs, and ranging along an evolutionary gradient of divergence. Such a diversity in their way of life and evolutionary history is hypothesized to engender differences in behavior, especially preferences and personality traits, which in each morph should be locally adapted to its particular ecological conditions. The project is lead by Prof. David Benhaïm (lead PI, Hólar Univ., Iceland) in collaboration across Hólar Univ. (Prof. Bjarni K. Kristjánsson, Dr Camille Leblanc), University of Caen, France (Dr. Christelle Jozet), IFREMER, France (Dr. Marie-Laure Bégout, Dr. Benjamin Geffroy), INRA, France (Dr. Xavier Cousin) and University of Iceland (Prof. Zophonias Jónsson).
The student will specifically be involved in identifying behavioral differences between morphs and environments. For that, the student will be monitoring boldness personality trait as well as preferences for 4 different ecologically-relevant stimuli (shelter, congeners, mirror and darkness vs. light), in offspring of wild-caught AC morphs raised under complex vs. plain conditions. To do so, the student will be working in close collaboration with a PhD student to record AC individuals in behavioral arenas, and then highlight behavioral differences using an automated behavioral tracking software s/he will be introduced to.
The candidates must be enrolled in a degree in the fields of ethology, evolutionary or behavioral ecology, or relevant equivalent fields. The ideal candidate has a strong interest in pluridisciplinary research with an emphasis on behavior. S/he enjoys working in a dynamic group but should be able to work independently as well. Statistical skills will be a plus. A valid driving license is a requirement.
Working language is English. The student will be provided with a discount on accommodation as a lab member, and commuting between the lab and the accommodation place will be at the lab’s charge. The student will also have free access to the University gym.
Aside, Iceland is eligible for Erasmus+ grants.
Applicants should send an application letter, with a statement of research interests and relevant experience and curriculum vitae as a single pdf to firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information contact David Benhaïm (Dept. of Aquaculture and Fish Biology, Hólar University, email@example.com).