45,000 students and 8,000 employees in teaching, research and administration, all working together to shape perspectives for the future – that is the University of Münster (WWU). Embedded in the vibrant atmosphere of Münster with its high standard of living, the University’s diverse research profile and attractive study programmes draw students and researchers throughout Germany and from around the world.

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

Doctoral Research Associate (PhD position)
Wissenschaftliche/r Mitarbeiter/in
(salary level TV-L E 13, 65%)

for the externally funded project SFB/TRR 212 at the earliest possible date. We are offering a fixed-term position for 3 years.

Your tasks:
The position is part of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB/TRR 212) entitled: A Novel Synthesis of Individualisation across Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC3), which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

This PhD project deals with the ecological and evolutionary effects of parasite virulence. In this project, the successful candidate will investigate the niche construction effects of a trophically transmitted tapeworm parasite (Schistocephalus solidus) on individual three-spined stickleback fish. The project aims to show how these effects cascade from the individual to the ecosystem level and alter eco-evolutionary dynamics. The successful candidate will be involved in mesocosm experiments to investigate how parasite virulence affects individual trophic specialisation of the hosts. We also aim to identify the physiological and metabolic traits associated with these individual differences. The successful candidate will further take advantage of transcriptomic datasets to identify the immuno-physiological traits associated with host niche individualisation, and contribute to the development of computational models that will bridge the gap between individual, population, and community processes.

Our expectations:
We are looking for a highly motivated scientist of any nationality, who is interested in interdisciplinary work. Candidates should have the equivalent of a master’s degree in biology, preferentially with a focus on evolution and ecology or a related field. A background, and ideally some experience, in any of the following areas will be useful: fish handling and care, limnology, molecular skills, individual-based models, as well as a good understanding of statistics. They should also 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, therefore good proficiency in spoken and written English is a requirement. German language skills are not a requirement, but a willingness to learn is desirable.

Advantages for you:
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. The successful candidate will join the team of Professor Joachim Kurtz, focussing on host-parasite coevolution and ecological immunology. 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 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.

The University of Münster is committed to employing more staff with disabilities. Candidates with recognised severe disabilities who have equivalent qualifications are given preference in hiring decisions.

Are you interested?

Then we look forward to receiving your application, written in English, in one single PDF file by 13 January 2022. Applications should be sent to Dr Jaime Anaya-Rojas at Please note that we cannot consider other file formats. Applications should include 1) a cover letter with a statement of research interests and motivation (max. 1 page), 2) a CV including details of any university degrees, research experience and publications, and 3) contact details for at least two referees.