mercredi 5 juillet 2017

Rendez-vous à la rentrée !

Summer break !

PhD project

Rothamsted are advertising a PhD position based at North Wyke looking at beef cattle grazing behaviour and sustainability. Although the closing date has passed they are still open for applications. I will mention it at Weds coffee or please feel free to get in touch if you are interested. They are happy for someone who lives in Bristol/here to be on-site part time.

Ph.D. position, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada: Tinbergian Approach to Object Play and Tool Use in Macaques

Hiring Organization: University of Lethbridge
Date Posted: 2017-07-05
Position Description: We are seeking an independent, conscientious and highly motivated student to embark on a four-year Ph.D. program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Lethbridge, starting either in January or September 2018, under the supervision of Dr. Jean-Baptiste Leca.
The Ph.D. student will investigate the proximate and ultimate links between object play and tool use in macaques. More specifically, the research project will consist of testing the hypothesis that object play – or any other type of object-related manipulation which does not seem to be immediately instrumental or rewarded in a tangible way, including object exploration – facilitates the development, expression, and evolution of tool-assisted actions that are directly beneficial. Proximate causes will include developmental, motivational, cognitive, and cultural processes. Ultimate considerations will include the functional significance of, and cross-species differences in, object-oriented behavioral propensities.
To address these questions, observational and experimental data will be collected and analyzed from several macaque species, with different manipulative tendencies (e.g., Japanese macaques, long-tailed macaques, lion-tailed macaques, and bonnet macaques).
As part of the Ph.D. program, the successful applicant will do field work in three countries, namely Japan, Indonesia (Bali), and India, with the help of several field research assistants. The Ph.D. student may also use a large existing video-recorded data set on object play, extractive foraging, and tool use behaviors in Japanese macaques and Balinese long-tailed macaques, already collected by our research team members. If the Ph.D. student is interested, he/she could also participate in a study that will be conducted in parallel in our lab: a replication of some observations and experiments on object play and tool use in human children.
During the Ph.D. program, the successful applicant will benefit from already established collaborations between Dr. Leca and other researchers in various fields (e.g., Neuroscience, Kinesiology, Anthropology, and Ecology).
Qualifications/Experience: Required – Applicants should:
 have, or be working toward a Master’s degree in biology, ecology, psychology, or anthropology, with an emphasis on animal/human behavior (e.g., ethology, behavioral ecology, cognitive science);
 have excellent GPA and some research achievements (e.g., publications or conference presentations) to be eligible and competitive for internal awards, scholarships, fellowships offered by the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Lethbridge;
 have a previous field research experience collecting behavioral data from large groups of individually recognized free-ranging animals (preferably primates);
 have a detailed knowledge of, and hands-on experience in, behavioral data collection methods (e.g., focal and scan sampling techniques);
 show a positive attitude in the face of long and tiring field work days and unforeseen challenges;
 be physically fit to stand and walk several hours a day under a hot and humid weather, while collecting behavioral data;
 feel comfortable walking around a large group of well-habituated monkeys, which may (occasionally) include getting a monkey jumping on the observer’s shoulders;
 be mentally strong and emotionally mature to spend several months living under basic conditions and being far away from family and friends;
 be able to communicate openly with our team about any problems that may arise;
 possess strong social skills, which include enjoying working and communicating easily within a small team, sharing knowledge, and being teachable.
Desirable – Priority will be given to applicants with:
 good observation skills including patience, persistence and attention to detail;
 a previous experience using handheld data loggers in the field (e.g., field computer/psion and video camera);
 a previous experience with behavioral data scoring softwares (particularly The Observer XT by Noldus);
 a previous experience with (or at least an interest in) Kinesiology methods;
 a previous experience with (or at least an interest in) phylogenetic analyses;
 a previous experience traveling and living in foreign countries and cultures;
 fluency in English.
Salary/funding:
The successful applicant will be selected on the basis of his/her eligibility and high probability to be fully funded by an internal funding package offered by the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Lethbridge. Indeed, provided excellent GPA and research potential, the future Ph.D. student will be competitive for a tuition award (covering Ph.D. tuition fees and other administrative fees at the University of Lethbridge), a fellowship award, a teaching assistantship, and a Dean’s scholarship. This package may be supplemented by a graduate research assistantship from the Ph.D. supervisor, if necessary.
Field research expenses will be fully covered. Financial support will be sought by the Ph.D. student, who will be eligible to apply for a Board of Governors Graduate Student Research Scholarship (because the supervisor is a Tier II Board of Governors Research Chair), and will be supplemented by the supervisor’s research grants. This support will include one round-trip
international airfare (from Calgary to field site), administrative expenses incurred while in the field (e.g., visa, long-term stay permit, research permit, field site fees), and a monthly research stipend (covering basic local transport, accommodation, and food expenses).
Term of Appointment: Depending on the successful applicant’s availability, the four-year Ph.D. program at the University of Lethbridge will run:
 either from early January 2018 to December 2021 (application deadline at the University of Lethbridge on October 1, 2017);
 or from early September 2018 to December 2022 (application deadline at the University of Lethbridge on February 1, 2018).
First field data collection: from May to August 2018 (4 months) in Bali, Indonesia.
Application Deadline: Review of applications to join our lab will begin immediately.
Short-listed applicants will be contacted to schedule phone interviews as soon as possible.
Due to the lengthy administrative procedure to apply for field research permits, we expect to select the successful candidate by mid-September 2017.
Comments: Please submit the following documentation in ONE single PDF file saved with your last and first name in the file name (e.g., “Smith_John.pdf”):
 A detailed cover letter documenting your education, research experience, qualifications (among those listed above), and interest in this position, with an emphasis on your motivation to pursue your Ph.D. research on the topic described above. Please also indicate whether you will be available to start the Ph.D. program either in early January 2018 or in early September 2018;
 Your detailed CV, including all relevant degrees, diplomas, certificates, coursework, field courses, field experience, and possible publications/conference presentations;
 A copy of your official undergraduate and graduate (M.Sc. or M.A.) academic transcripts, with the detailed list of courses taken and the corresponding grades, as well as your cumulative GPA (or GPA-equivalent);
 Contact information (including email addresses) of THREE academic or professional references who can attest to your qualifications, including ONE reference who supervised you IN THE FIELD.
Applications that contain more than one file will not be considered.
Your application should be emailed to Dr. Noëlle Gunst (noelle.gunstleca@uleth.ca). Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, and we shall get back to you as soon as possible, via email.
Contact Information: Jean-Baptiste Leca, PhD
Noëlle Gunst, PhD
Department of Psychology
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge, AB
Canada
Website: http://www.jbleca.webs.com/
E-mail Address: jeanbaptiste.leca@uleth.ca
AND
noelle.gunstleca@uleth.ca

Master’s position (M.Sc.), University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada: Comparative Structure of Object Play and Tool Use in Macaques and Humans

Hiring Organization: University of Lethbridge
Date Posted: 2017-07-05
Position Description: We are seeking a conscientious and motivated student to embark on a two-year M.Sc. program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Lethbridge, starting in January 2018, under the supervision of Dr. Jean-Baptiste Leca.
The M.Sc. student will test the hypothesis that object play is a developmental precursor to flexible tool use. To do so, the student will examine the mechanistic similarities and differences between object play and tool use in primates. More specifically, the research project will consist of exploring the motivational bases of object-oriented play activities and tool-assisted actions by comparing their biomechanical and sequential structures in Balinese long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) and human children, at different stages of development.
As part of the M.Sc. program, the successful applicant will conduct observations and field experiments in free-ranging long-tailed macaques in Indonesia (Bali) and human children in Canada. The M.Sc. student may also use a large existing video-recorded data set on object play, extractive foraging, and tool use behaviors in Balinese long-tailed macaques, already collected by our research team members.
During the M.Sc. program, the successful applicant will benefit from already established collaborations between Dr. Leca and other researchers in various fields (e.g., Neuroscience, Kinesiology, Anthropology, and Ecology).
Qualifications/Experience: Required – Applicants should:
 have, or be working toward (by the end of December 2017) a Bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology, psychology, or anthropology, with an emphasis on animal behavior (e.g., ethology, behavioral ecology, cognitive science);
 have excellent GPA and research potential to be eligible and competitive for internal awards, scholarships, fellowships offered by the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Lethbridge;
 have a previous field research experience collecting behavioral data in animals/humans;
 have a detailed knowledge of, and hands-on experience in, behavioral data collection methods (e.g., focal and scan sampling techniques);
 show a positive attitude in the face of long and tiring field work days and unforeseen challenges;
 be physically fit to stand and walk several hours a day (including under a hot and humid weather), while collecting behavioral data;
 feel comfortable walking around a large group of well-habituated monkeys, which may (occasionally) include getting a monkey jumping on the observer’s shoulders;
 be mentally strong and emotionally mature to spend several months living under basic conditions and being far away from family and friends;
 be able to communicate openly with our team about any problems that may arise;
 possess strong social skills, which include enjoying working and communicating easily within a small team, sharing knowledge, and being teachable.
Desirable – Priority will be given to applicants with:
 good observation skills including patience, persistence and attention to detail;
 a previous experience using handheld data loggers in the field (e.g., field computer/psion and video camera);
 a previous experience with behavioral data scoring softwares (particularly The Observer XT by Noldus);
 a previous experience with (or at least an interest in) Kinesiology methods;
 a previous experience traveling and living in foreign countries and cultures;
 fluency in English.
Salary/funding:
The successful applicant will be selected on the basis of his/her eligibility and high probability to be fully funded by an internal funding package offered by the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Lethbridge. Indeed, provided excellent GPA and research potential, the future M.Sc. student will be competitive for a tuition award (covering M.Sc. tuition fees and other administrative fees at the University of Lethbridge), a fellowship award, a teaching assistantship, and a Dean’s scholarship. This package may be supplemented by a graduate research assistantship from the M.Sc. supervisor, if necessary.
Field research expenses in Bali will be fully covered by providing the successful applicant with an adequate financial support from the supervisor’s research grants. This support will include one round-trip international airfare (from Calgary), administrative expenses incurred while in the field (e.g., visa, long-term stay permit, research permit), and a monthly research stipend (covering basic local transport, accommodation, and food expenses).
Term of Appointment: The two-year M.Sc. program at the University of Lethbridge will run from early January 2018 to December 2019.
Field data collection in Bali, Indonesia: from May to August 2018 (4 months).
Application Deadline: Review of applications to join our lab will begin immediately.
Short-listed applicants will be contacted to schedule phone interviews as soon as possible.
Due to the lengthy administrative procedure to apply for field research permits, we expect to select the successful candidate by mid-September 2017.
The deadline to apply for the M.Sc. program at the University of Lethbridge is October 1, 2017.
Comments: Please submit the following documentation in ONE single PDF file saved with your last and first name in the file name (e.g., “Smith_John.pdf”):
 A detailed cover letter documenting your education, research experience, qualifications (among those listed above), and interest in this position, with an emphasis on your motivation to pursue your M.Sc. research on the topic described above. Please also confirm that you will be available to start the M.Sc. program in early January 2018;
 Your detailed CV, including all relevant degrees, diplomas, certificates, coursework, field courses, field experience, and possible publications/conference presentations;
 A copy of your official undergraduate and graduate (B.Sc. or B.A.) academic transcripts, with the detailed list of courses taken and the corresponding grades, as well as your cumulative GPA (or GPA-equivalent);
 Contact information (including email addresses) of TWO academic or professional references who can attest to your qualifications, including ONE reference who supervised you IN THE FIELD.
Applications that contain more than one file will not be considered.
Your application should be emailed to Dr. Noëlle Gunst (noelle.gunstleca@uleth.ca). Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, and we shall get back to you as soon as possible, via email.
Contact Information: Jean-Baptiste Leca, PhD
Noëlle Gunst, PhD
Department of Psychology
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge, AB
Canada
Website: http://www.jbleca.webs.com/
E-mail Address: jeanbaptiste.leca@uleth.ca
AND
noelle.gunstleca@uleth.ca

jeudi 29 juin 2017

Offre de position post-doctorale

Post-doc position available to study audience effects in a cooperative breeder

A post-doc position in Behavioural Ecology is available from mid-September for 1.5 years to study experimentally whether cooperative behaviour is influenced by sex-specific audience effects. The project will integrate a broader research program which investigates the potential role of social and sexual selection in the evolution and maintenance of cooperation in a colonial cooperative bird from Southern Africa, the sociable weaver. The successful post-doc candidate will integrate an international research group based in Portugal, France and South Africa and will be working closely with Rita Covas (CIBIO, University of Porto, Portugal), Claire Doutrelant (CEFE-CNRS, France) and Fanny Rybak (University of Paris-Sud, France). The project is based on acoustic and behavioural field experiments and requires spending an initial period of 4-6 months in the field. Previous experience with fieldwork, behavioural work and acoustics, as well as motivation to conduct behavioural experiments in field conditions are therefore essential prerequisites. Candidates are equally required to have solid knowledge of evolutionary ecology and preferably of cooperation and social evolution. Pre-application enquiries are encouraged and should be sent to rita.covas@cibio.up.pt , claire.doutrelant@cefe.cnrs.fr and fanny.rybak@u-psud.fr . More information about the project can be found at http://www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za/fitz/research/programmes/longterm/sociableweaver; https://cibio.up.pt/people/details/rcovas; https://www.cefe.cnrs.fr/fr/recherche/ee/esp/777-c/152-claire-doutrelant; http://www.cb.u-psud.fr/Fanny.htm
 The application deadline is 14 July 2017. Applications must include Curriculum Vitae (CV), motivation letter, copy of academic certificates, and contact details of two references, sent to: bolsas.cibio@cibio.up.pt

mercredi 28 juin 2017

Offre : Cognition chez le poulpe, CRCA, Université Toulouse 3

Should we isolate octopuses? Impact of social environment on the octopus’s cognitive abilities as an indirect indicator of animal welfare

Dates: été 2017
Host Institution: Dr. Graziano Fiorito, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Napoli
Co-supervision: Dr. Aurore Avarguès-Weber, Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale (CNRS/Université Toulouse 3), Toulouse.
Contact : aurore.avargues-weber [ chez ] univ-tlse3.fr.

Please add with your application in French or English, a CV, letter of motivation and name(s) of referent(s)

Project:

Context
When maintained in captive conditions, octopuses are usually kept in isolation in individual tanks to prevent territorial behaviour and agonistic encounters occasionally reported to cause cannibalism (Ibáñez Keyl, 2010). On the other hand, aquaculture practice requires maximization of growth and often uses group-living as a choice (Estefanell et al., 2012). However, most octopus species have solitary-living habit, which further support isolated rearing conditions.

These animals are very attentive to conspecifics’ behaviour; they express typical social communication through body visual patterns (Packard Sanders, 1971; Scheel et al., 2016) and demonstrate social learning capabilities (Fiorito Scotto, 1992): octopuses (Octopus vulgaris) indeed acquire by observation the preference between artificial preys shown by a conspecific individual that was previously trained to associate this artificial stimulus with a food reward. This experiment shows that this solitary-living species naturally acquired socially provided information.

It is therefore possible that continuous social visual interactions (see also Tricarico et al., 2011) would provide a stimulating cognitive context due to environmental enrichment and information gathered from the conspecific. The question is whether a social context may be acceptable (sensu Bracke et al., 1999) or even stimulating in a rearing context for a solitary-living animal with adequate cognitive capabilities.

In this project, we wish to compare learning performance and classical welfare indicators between octopuses raised either in isolation or with constant visual access to the tank of an other octopus.


Workplan
Octopuses (Octopus vulgaris) collected in Naple’s bay will be reared in individual tanks. Half of them will nevertheless have the possibility to see another individual in an adjacent tank separated by a transparent divider. Such a dual tank would prevent physical aggression between animals. The animal will be allocated in pairs on the basis of similar body size to avoid asymmetrical social influence as dominance in conflict seems established through size judgement in octopus (Boyle, 1980). The octopuses will then be trained and tested for simple associative visual learning first (presentation of two visual objects, only one being associated with food) but also for conceptual learning abilities (rule learning: ‘Delayed-Matching-To-Sample’ task and/or numerical abilities). Cognitive performances will be compared between socially isolated and pairs rearing conditions. Parameters such as time spent hidden or in exploratory behaviour and latency to catch food would be recor!
ded as indicators of the animals’ welfare in both conditions.

Expected results and outcomes

- Observation of the influence on animal basic behaviours (exploration – food catching) of the presence of a social environment on a long term perspective (2 months)

- Information on octopuses’ abilities to solve relational rule learning task as not yet demonstrated to our knowledge in cephalopods despite the known sophistication of their neural system and behaviours (Borrelli Fiorito, 2008; Edelman Seth, 2009).

- Elements about the emulative or negative influence of conspecific visual perception on cognitive performance.

Budget

Travel, accommodation and basic living expenses will be covered.

Backgrounds/skills requested

A background in ethology, cognition and prior experimental expertise would be appreciated.
Candidates with a master degree will be favoured but other candidates welcomed.

References

. Borrelli, L., Fiorito, G. (2008). Behavioral analysis of learning and memory in cephalopods. In J. J. Byrne (Ed.), Learning and memory: A comprehensive reference (pp. 605-627). Oxford: Academic Press.
. Boyle, P. (1980). Home occupancy by male Octopus vulgaris in a large seawater tank. Anim Behav, 28(4), 1123-1126.
. Bracke, M. B., Spruijt, B. M., Metz, J. H. (1999). Overall animal welfare reviewed. Part 3: Welfare assessment based on needs and supported by expert opinion. NJAS wageningen journal of life sciences, 47(3), 307-322.
. Edelman, D. B., Seth, A. K. (2009). Animal consciousness: a synthetic approach. Trends Neurosci, 32(9), 476-484.
. Estefanell, J., Roo, J., Fernández-Palacios, H., Izquierdo, M., Socorro, J., Guirao, R. (2012). Comparison between individual and group rearing systems in Octopus vulgaris (Cuvier, 1797). Journal of the World Aquaculture Society, 43(1), 63-72.
. Fiorito, G., Scotto, P. (1992). Observational learning in Octopus vulgaris. Science, 256(5056), 545- 547. doi: 10.1126/science.256.5056.545
. Ibáñez, C. M., Keyl, F. (2010). Cannibalism in cephalopods. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 20(1), 123-136.
. Packard, A., Sanders, G. D. (1971). Body patterns of Octopus vulgaris and maturation of the response to disturbance. Anim Behav, 19(4), 780-790.
. Scheel, D., Godfrey-Smith, P., Lawrence, M. (2016). Signal use by octopuses in agonistic interactions. Current Biology, 26(3), 377-382.
. Tricarico, E., Borrelli, L., Gherardi, F., Fiorito, G. (2011). I know my neighbour: individual recognition in Octopus vulgaris. PLoS ONE, 6(4), e18710.