Internship in Kinship demography

In a social species, demography is a function of cooperative and competitive interactions between individuals, and kinship is one of the main determinants of these interactions. As a consequence, an individual’s growth, reproduction, migration and survival rates depend on the vital rates of other individuals in the population, and in particular of those of its kin. Juveniles’ growth and survival depend on transfers of resources structured by age and kin between generations, mainly from parents, or within generations from “helpers at the nest” siblings. More generally, cooperative breeding structured by size, age, sex and kin is largely dependent on – and reciprocally influencing – dispersal and reproduction. Adult mortality may also be linked to kin interactions for example through predation or infections. As a result, reproductive success is tightly connected to kin interactions in social species.
This project aims at investigating the dynamic interplay between social behaviors, kinship structure, population dynamics and evolution of Life-History Traits. Depending on the specific interest of the student and length of the internship several questions can be investigated: what is the variance of the number of various kins in a population? Hoes does it changes with varying environmental conditions? How do trade-off among life history traits influence kinship structure?

The student will use a recently published demographic model which allows to infer kinship structure of any age/stage structured populations from its demography (Coste et al. 2021, The Kinship matrix: inferring the kinship structure of a population from its demography in Ecology Letters) together with population models or individual-based models for various mammal species.

The student will be co-supervised by Sarah Cubaynes and Christophe Coste, and will interact with other members of the kinship project (Samuel Pavard, MNHN and Victor Ronget). He or she will be based at the CEFE (Center for Functional and Evolutionary Biology) in Montpellier and join the HAIR team (

We are looking for a highly-motivated student, doing a Master in ecology, evolutionary biology or demography, with some experience in statistical analyses (knowledge of R required) and background in life history theory.

Send your CV to before the end of December.

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