The Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity at the University of Münster, Germany, is seeking to fill the post of a

PhD Position
(salary level TV-L E13, 65%)
to study niche construction in the red flour beetle

This fixed-term post will start on 1 February 2018 (or soon thereafter) and is available for 36 months. Currently, the regular working time for full employment is 39 hours and 50 minutes per week. The position is part of the recently funded Collaborative Research Centre (SFB/TRR 212) entitled: A Novel Synthesis of Individualisation across Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC3), as granted by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

This project involves studying niche construction in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum. Within this project, the successful candidate will experimentally study how flour beetles modify the microbial community of their environment (the flour), which is mediated by chemical secretions from the beetles. The candidate will use experimental evolution to test if individuals’ prior immunological experience plays a role in niche construction, and they will analyse its long-term evolutionary consequences. The candidate will study the chemical ecology as well as the genetic underpinnings of the evolved phenotypes.

Applicants should be highly motivated students of any nationality, and they should have the equivalent of a master’s degree in evolution, behaviour, ecology or related fields. A background in any of the following areas will be useful: previous experience with practical insect work, good molecular skills, and (of particular relevance) previous experience with chemical ecology, immunology or bioinformatics and a good understanding of statistics. Applicants should have excellent communication skills and be able to work both independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team. The working language of the Institute and the lab is English, and good proficiency in spoken and written English is a requirement.

The University of Münster is a large vibrant university hosting a number of excellent scientific institutions ( The Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity provides a stimulating research environment with a number of scientific groups researching diverse topics centred on different aspects of evolution. Additionally, students can benefit from the structured PhD program offered by the Münster Graduate School of Evolution ( As a part of the Collaborative Research Centre SFB/TRR 212, the project will involve intensive collaboration with consortium partners at the Universities of Münster and Bielefeld. The town of Münster itself has many students and presents a dynamic environment with many cultural and social events throughout the year (

The University  of Münster is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the proportion of women academics. Consequently, we actively encourage applications by women. Female candidates with equivalent qualifications and academic achievements will be preferentially considered within the framework of the legal possibilities. We also welcome applications from candidates with severe disabilities. Disabled candidates with equivalent qualifications will be preferentially considered.

Applications should be written in English. Please send your application in one single PDF file by 14 January 2018 to Prof Dr Joachim Kurtz ( Applications should include 1) a cover letter with a statement of research interests and motivation (max. 1 page), 2) CV including details about research experience (please include the abstract of your master’s thesis) and 3) contact details of at least two referees.