Collective Animal Behaviour

Within the framework of the newly funded Cluster of Excellence "Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour" we are offering several PhD positions. At the Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour, we aim to create a global hotspot for the integrated study of collective behaviour across a wide range of species and across scales of organisation. The research cluster is a collaboration between the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and draws on expertise from the fields of biology, psychology, physics, economics as well as computer science.

Abstract The study of collective behavior naturally spans scales, from how neural circuits control individual behavior in a social context, to the analogous issue of determining the structure and function of the communication network among organisms that gives rise to emergent group, and population-level, behavior.

We seek PhD candidates to join our highly international, collaborative and interdisciplinary research group to investigating the behaviour and evolution of collective animal behavior in the lab and/or field. We are interested in both invertebrates (e.g. locusts) and vertebrates (e.g. fish, birds) and we particularly encourage those applicants who wish to utilize the many modern technologies we have been developing to advance animal behaviour research (e.g. in automated tracking, virtual reality, drone-based imaging, machine learning, computational modeling) to understand how animals sense their world and make decisions in the face of uncertainty and risk. We seek both those who want to use, as well as to develop, new technologies and so we welcome applications from a broad range of disciplines, including biology, biophysics, complex systems, physics, neurobiology, psychology, engineering etc.

Given the broad nature of this search it will be extremely helpful if applicants can let us know "what excites you about collective animal behaviour, and what may you want to work on?”.

The Max Planck Society and the University of Konstanz are equal opportunity employers that are committed to provide employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or disability. They seek to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Keywords self-organization, swarm, schooling, behavior, information, fish, locusts, birds, tracking, computer vision, virtual reality, self-organization, decision-making, individual differences, evolution

Main adviser Iain Couzin, MPI for Ornithology + University of Konstanz

Interested in this PhD project? Apply here!

Go to Editor View