Post-doctoral Research Associate in Individual development and social dynamics in cooperative mammals University of Cambridge, Department of Zoology United Kingdom

Post-doctoral Research Associate: Individual development and social dynamics in cooperative mammals


A post-doctoral research associate position based in the Department of Zoology in central Cambridge on Downing Street, supported by the Human Frontier Science Program, is available from 1 July 2018 to work with Professor Tim Clutton-Brock FRS on individual development, cooperative behaviour and reproductive suppression in social mammals, including Kalahari meerkats and Damaraland mole-rats.


The project will involve:

  • analysis of age-related changes and individual differences in growth, behaviour, reproduction and survival and inter-relationships between them in large samples of individually recognisable meerkats and mole-rats;

  • the investigation of relationships between changes in behaviour and reproductive function within individuals and changes in hormone profiles;

  • experimental manipulation of captive breeding groups of mole-rats to investigate the effects of group size and composition on behavioural development, reproductive suppression and hormonal status and the effects of variation in hormonal status on development;

  • collaboration with Professor J Tung ( Duke) to investigate relationships between variation in behaviour and development within and between individuals and variation in gene function.


The successful candidate must have a PhD in behavioural ecology, population ecology or evolutionary biology and should have previous experience of the analysis of long-term individual data on life history and behavioural parameters. Experience of endocrinology, quantitative genetics and bioinformatics would also be important assets. Candidates should be prepared to spend up to two months per year at our field site in the Kalahari and to collaborate closely with other members of the team.


Duties and responsibilities:

  • the analysis of age-related changes and individual variation in growth, endocrine status, cooperative behaviour, reproductive success and survival in wild groups of Kalahari meerkats and mole-rats, and captive breeding groups of mole-rats;

  • the design and analysis of experiments to explore the effects of variation in social conditions (including group size, group composition and social status) on development and behaviour in both species ;

  • the management and organisation of extensive long-term, individual-based datasets;

  • a contribution to the organisation and management of field teams and the selection of assistants;

  • liaison with collaborating scientists in Europe and the USA;

  • the preparation and publication of research papers.


Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for up to 36 months in the first instance.


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply' button below. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.


Please quote reference PF14760 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.


The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.


The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.


Further information

  • Post-doctoral Research Associate - PF14760

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