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Post-doc position available - Stellenbosch, South Africa

Ross Wanless, June 13, 2017

A postdoctoral research position is available immediately at Stellenbosch University (duration 3 years) to work on a collaborative project examining the use of infrasound for navigation in seabirds. This specific postdoctoral project will focus on exploring the mechanisms that may underlie seabird infrasound detection. The project will use advanced 3D imaging techniques to visualize and measure sensory organs in a variety of seabird species. The data will be examined within a phylogenetic framework and integrated with spatial modelling and geophysical components of a larger international collaborative project. Aural structural data will also be used to model theoretical frequency sensitivity of infrasound detection by seabird sensory organs. The project and postdoctoral position is funded by a Human Frontier Science Program grant and brings together the fields of geophysics (hosted by Jelle Assink, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, The Netherlands), behavioural ecology (Samantha Patrick, University of Liverpool, UK), physiology (Susana Clusella-Trullas, Stellenbosch University, South Africa) and spatial modeling (Mathieu Basille, University of Florida, USA). The postdoctoral candidate will be part of a young, dynamic team of cross-disciplinary researchers that will work closely together and combine i) the infrasonic wavefield in the atmosphere and the ocean, ii) the structural mechanisms by which seabirds can detect infrasound signals and iii) the bird’s behavioural responses in field conditions, to unravel the role of infrasound in seabird navigation. The position will require a PhD in biological sciences, preferably comparative anatomy or physiology, or a related field (e.g. physiological ecology). The candidate should have experience and creative insights into microscopy methods (e.g. TEM/SEM, fluorescence microscopy, 3D imaging and analysis), a strong background in advanced statistics (e.g. multivariate analyses; geometric morphometrics) and a proven track-record for publishing research in high quality peer-reviewed literature. Desirable criteria include knowledge of and advanced programming in the R statistical environment. The applicant will be based in the CL•I•M•E laboratory of Susana Clusella-Trullas (, Department of Botany and Zoology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, but must be able to work as part of a close collaborative team and be willing to spend short periods of time at all four institutions involved. The post is full time and fixed term for 36 months and candidates would start on 1st October 2017. To apply Applications should consist of an academic CV, cover letter and brief description (300 words) of three key published papers that show skills relevant to this post and particularly novel results. Applications and further enquiries should be directed to S. Clusella-Trullas ( Review of applications begins August 1st 2017 and will close as soon as a suitable candidate has been found.