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PhD in evolution, ecology, computer science and control theory in Manchester

last modified Nov 01, 2012 03:39 PM

A 4-year-funded project is now available at the University of Manchester, UK.

Title: 'The evolution of sexual imprinting'

Summary: Why do individuals choose the mates they choose?  In many species, individuals learn which characteristics to prefer in mates by observing the characteristics of other members of their populations.  This process is called sexual imprinting.  Sexual imprinting has been observed in birds, fish, spiders, and mammals including humans.  The choice of which individuals to observe, the traits observed, and the strength of learned preferences comprise imprinting strategies.  Imprinting strategies differ among species and between sexes within species, but how and why different imprinting strategies evolve is poorly understood.  The goal of this PhD project is develop a set of mathematical and computational models to explain the evolution of sexual imprinting.  The results will elucidate evolutionary mechanisms and provide testable hypotheses for studies of learned mating behaviour in the field.

This project would be appropriate for a student with training in applied maths, physics, or computer science and an interest in using quantitative approaches to biological questions, or for a student with training in biology and excellent quantitative skills. Techniques and training will include the analysis of dynamical systems, agent-based computational simulation, adaptive dynamics, and hybrid systems modelling.

For additional details on the project and how to apply, please visit: