01.08.2014 - 15:53
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PhD position in disease ecology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

The Primatology department at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in collaboration with the Robert Koch Institute Berlin (Dr. F. Leendertz, RKI), Germany is offering a PhD position for 3 years in a DFG-funded project starting on 1st September 2014 or as soon as possible thereafter (payment: TVöD 13/2).

We seek a highly motivated Ph.D. student who will work on the link between sociality and health in wild apes. The project focuses on the interplay between social relationships, physiological stress and health in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla). Field work will be conducted at the field stations of the MPI EVAN in the Tai Forest,Côte d’Ivoire and in the Loango National Park in Gabun (http://www.eva.mpg.de/primat/index.html). Laboratory work will be performed at the MPI-EVA, Leipzig and the RKI (http://www.rki.de/EN/Content/Institute/DepartmentsUnits/ProjectGroups/P23/P3.html).
The methods to be employed include behavioral observations, endocrinological as well as immunological assays, and genetic analyses. This project is part of a new research unit (FOR 2136-1) funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) entitled “Sociality and Health in Primates”. PIs from Göttingen, Berlin and Leipzig will combine their knowledge and skills to take up a novel collaborative research project on this topic.

In addition, we offer a stimulating scientific environment in an international research group whose members work on a variety of topics in behavioral and evolutionary biology. The graduate student will be enrolled in the International Max Planck Research school “The Leipzig School of Human Origin”(http://www.leipzig-school.eva.mpg.de/). Leipzig is a pleasant university town located in the east of Germany with a lively cultural scene.

Applicants must have a MSc degree (or equivalent) in a relevant field. Further job requirements include field experience (preferably in the tropics), the ability to work independently as well as basic French skills. Good quantitative, analytical, and English skills are also essential. Familiarity with observation techniques but also laboratory techniques such as ELISA, and genetic (PCR) analyses are highly desirable.

The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more handicapped individuals and to increasing the percentage of women in areas where they are under-represented, and therefore expressly encourages applications from such qualified individuals.
Candidates should submit their application by e-mail as a pdf containing a cover letter, CV and the contact information of two referees.

Application received until 15 August, 2014 will be fully considered, but the position remains open until a suitable candidate has been identified. Please send applications to

Dr. Tobias Deschner
Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Primatology
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig
Germany

deschner@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Assistant for the Taï Chimpanzee Project

We are offering several research assistant positions at the Taï Chimpanzee Project in Ivory Coast, West Africa. The project is committed to research and conservation of the chimpanzees of the Taï National Park (TNP) since 35 years.
Our research assistants are part of an international research team consisting of local field assistants and international students. Research assistants can take responsibility for one of two different job options:

1.    They are observing and collecting long term data from one of the three habituated chimpanzee communities we are following on daily bases to better understand the behaviour, culture and cognition of chimpanzees. This will include all day focal follows, behavioural data collection, fecal and urine collection for our bio-banking program, ecological data collection and compiling all the data before they are sent back to Germany.
IN ADDITION: Qualified research assistants (MSc or equivalent degree) will be able to conduct a small research program themselves. This will need to fit the requirements of their project duties and will need to be supervised by a TCP senior staff.  

2.    They are responsible for the habituation process of a new community that is the neighbouring group to all three habituated communities. This will include going to forest every day, searching and identifying chimpanzees, as well as collecting fecal samples for genetic and hormonal analysis.
Successful applicants for both positions will be responsible to manage a small team of local field assistants which need motivation and some control.


Start:

Research assistant for habituated chimpanzees: August 2014 for 12 months

Research assistant for habituation process: As soon as possible for a minimum of 6 months

Support:

Research assistants are generally self-funded and can apply for refunding of flights and certain expenses after completion of their term.

Application:

Send a letter of interest together with a CV and names of two referees by email to:

Taï Chimpanzee Project, Dr. Roman Wittig, taichimpproject@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Post-doc position: Comparative social cognition of two ape species under natural conditions

We are offering a two years Max Planck post-doc fellowship with a possible two years extension working on a project that compares the cognitive abilities in the social domain between bonobos and chimpanzees under natural conditions using an observational and experimental approach.

Our general interest is to understand the relationship between sociality and social cognition. Specifically, we are interested in the use of behavioral strategies that are based on cognitive skills in wild living bonobos and chimpanzees.

This post-doc project will include observations and field experiments on bonobos in LuiKotale, Solonga NP (Democratic Republic of Congo) and on chimpanzees of the Taï Chimpanzee Project, Taï NP (Côte d’Ivoire).

Qualifications and Requirements:

PhD, or comparable degree, in Biology, Psychology or Evolutionary Anthropology and a good knowledge in animal behaviour and animal cognition. The following experience is important for the successful applicant:

1. Expertise in conducting field experiments such as playbacks or similar controlled behavioral tests, preferably with primates.

2. Proficiency  in field observations and collecting behavioural data on social mammals.

3. Experience in working and living under harsh conditions in remote areas.
The successful applicant speaks French and English, is resistant to physical and psychological stress, has strong social skills and is able to work and live amongst a group of international colleagues and local staff.

Salary and Funding:

Supported by a MPI post-doc stipend (2+2 years). In additional the successful candidate is expected to write a research proposal to apply for additional grant money.

Start and Term of Appointment:

Starting summer 2014

Comments:

Applications including a cover letter stating research experience and interest, detailed curriculum vitae, and the names and e-mail addresses of three referees should be sent electronically. Application deadline is 30 April or until position is filled thereafter.

Contact Information:

Roman Wittig (TCP) and Gottfried Hohmann (LuiKotale)
wittig@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.dehohmann@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Volunteer Position: Field Assistant at the Taï Chimpanzee Project (Côte D’Ivoire)

We are offering 5 volunteer positions to collect indirect health data for the Taï Chimpanzee Project in Côte d’Ivoire.

In cooperation between infectiologists of the Robert Koch Institute (Berlin) and primatologists of the Max Planck Institute for evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig) we are investigating pathogens of wild chimpanzees living in Taï National Park, Ivory Coast.  For our project „Great Ape Health Monitoring“ we are looking for 5 volunteers who enjoy working in the field. This work does not include direct work with the chimpanzees but the involvement in more field oriented projects (e.g. catching arthropods) is required. The field study area is situated in Taï National Park, Ivory Coast at one of the research camps, mostly isolated from the rest of the world. However, various other students and assistants live at these camps as well.

Task description:

  • Collection of bones throughout the Tai National Park (together with experienced local assistants)
  • Collection of arthropod vectors throughout the whole Tai National Park for a disease monitoring project
  • Initial training (1 week) of field methods at the RKI in Berlin  
  • Data documentation

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Background in Biology/ Veterinary Medicine or a related field
  • Previous experience with field work, especially in tropical forests, is preferred but not required
  • Be motivated, independent and responsible
  • Be physically fit, and capable of undertaking fieldwork in hot/humid conditions (fieldwork will include a lot of camping in the forest)
  • Basic knowledge of spoken French

Salary / Funding:

Volunteers are self-funded. Permit fees will be reimbursed after completed tenure. Current living costs are about 150€ per month, which volunteers have to provide themselves together with suitable clothing, health insurance and vaccinations.

Start and Term of Appointment:
 

Start: September/October 2014  
Duration: 6 months

Comments:

Applications including a cover letter stating experience, detailed CV, and the names and emails of two referees should be sent electronically. Evaluation process starts immediately and continues till all positions are filled.

Contact:

Fabian Leendertz
P3 – Epidemiology of highly Pathogenic Microorganisms
Robert Koch Institut
Nordufer 20
13353 Berlin
Email: LeendertzF@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]rki.de
Phone: 0049 -30-18754 2592

http://www.rki.de/EN/Content/Institute/DepartmentsUnits/ProjectGroups/P23/P23.html
http://www.eva.mpg.de/primat/research-groups/chimpanzees/field-sites/

Two positions for student assistants at MPI EVAN

We are looking for highly motivated students who are interested in improving their hands-on experience in nucleotide databases, molecular phylogenetics and phylogeography.

The selected students will participate in the initial stages of an ambitious comparative phylogeography research project involving the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology as well as national and international research institutions.
Our research aims to test paleoenvironmental hypotheses for sub-Saharan Africa by synthesizing existing sequence data for a large number of animal (mostly mammals) and plant species.

Your primary task will be to compile sequence data from genebank and published sources for developing a database of georeferenced DNA sequences for a wide range of African species.  Dr. Paolo Gratton (senior PostDoc) will advise you and supervise your work.

Familiarity with spreadsheet software applications (e.g. MS Excel) will be highly advantageous, while previous experience with at least one programming language (e.g. R, Perl, Python) will be a plus. The start of work will be the beginning of May, for a duration initially limited to 6 months.

Please send your application, including a short motivation letter and CV to Dr. Paolo Gratton (paolo.gratton@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]gmail.com). Please indicate ‘African Phylogeography’ in the subject line.

Volunteer Position: Lab / Field Assitant at the Taï Chimpanzee Project (Côte D’ivoire)

We are offering 1 volunteer position to help monitoring the health of the chimpanzees in the National Park, collect indirect health data and run the field lab for the Taï Chimpanzee Project in Côte d’Ivoire.

In cooperation between infectiologists of the Robert Koch Institute (Berlin) and primatologists of the Max Planck Institute for evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig) we are investigating pathogens of wild chimpanzees living in Taï National Park, Ivory Coast.  For our project „Great Ape Health Monitoring“ we are looking for a volunteer who enjoys both working in the field and in the laboratory. This work does not include direct work with the chimpanzees but the involvement in more field oriented projects (e.g. catching arthropods) is required. The field laboratory is situated in Tai National Park, Ivory Coast at one of the research camps, mostly isolated from the rest of the world. However, various other students and assistants live at these camps as well.

Task description:
  • Carrying out diagnostic analyses based on PCR techniques for onsite diagnostics (necropsy samples collected by our field vet), maintenance of the lab
  • Collection of arthropod vectors in the forest for a specific project
  • Assistant to the camp manager
  • An initial training (4 weeks) of lab and field methods at the RKI in Berlin  
Qualifications and Requirements:
  • Background in Biology/ Veterinary Medicine or a related field
  • Basic lab experience is required (extraction of DNA, performing PCR)
  • Previous experience with field work, especially in tropical forests, is preferred but not required
  • Be motivated, independent and responsible
  • Be physically fit, and capable of undertaking fieldwork in hot/humid conditions
  • Basic knowledge of spoken French
Salary / Funding:

Volunteers are self-funded. However, accommodation at the field site is provided and one airfare (Germany – Côte d’Ivoire – Germany, at a reasonable max.) as well as permit fees will be reimbursed after completed tenure. Current living costs are about 150€ per month, which volunteers have to provide themselves together with suitable clothing, health insurance and vaccinations.

Start and Term of Appointment:  

As soon as possible (preferable starting from Feb 2014) including a minimum of 8 month in the field.

Comments:

Applications including a cover letter stating experience, detailed CV, and the names and emails of two referees should be sent electronically. Evaluation process starts immediately and continues till all positions are filled.

Contact:

Fabian Leendertz
P3 – Epidemiology of highly Pathogenic Microorganisms
Robert Koch Institut
Nordufer 20
13353 Berlin
Email: LeendertzF@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]rki.de
Phone: 0049 -30-18754 2592

http://www.rki.de/EN/Content/Institute/DepartmentsUnits/ProjectGroups/P23/P23.html
http://www.eva.mpg.de/primat/research-groups/chimpanzees/field-sites/

PhD Studentship, spatial modelling of great ape abundance in Africa

University of St Andrews and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

We are currently looking for a student to undertake a PhD to analyse data on great ape populations from line transect and camera trap surveys. Whereas a broad spectrum of methods is already available for analysing great ape population data from line transect surveys, estimation of great ape abundance from camera trap surveys requires further development. Furthermore, recent developments of biometric approaches to detect great apes in camera trap footage provide new opportunities and challenges for survey data analysis. Key goals of the research to be conducted will be to include probabilistic output of biometric systems for inferring great ape abundance from camera trap surveys as well as to incorporate camera trap data into spatial modelling techniques.

This work will require advanced statistical skills. We therefore encourage in particular students with a strong background in statistics or mathematics and a genuine interest in environmental issues to apply.    

The student will be based at CREEM, on a studentship fully funded* by the University of St Andrews and MPI-EVA. 

*All fees (whether home or international) will be covered, and a stipend will be paid for 3.5 years.  For 2013/14, the level of this stipend is £13,726.

Apply at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/admissions/pg/apply/

The PhD will be at CREEM (http://creem2.st-andrews.ac.uk/) within the School of Mathematics and Statistics at St Andrews.  The supervisors will be Stephen Buckland at CREEM and Hjalmar Kuehl and Christophe Boesch at MPI-EVA.  

St Andrews is a small university town on the east coast of Scotland (http://www.saint-andrews.co.uk/).  The University is nearly 600 years old, and is a mixture of ancient and modern.  

There are 36 academic staff in the School of Mathematics and Statistics, 25 research staff, and over 50 PhD students.  The Statistics Division currently comprises 11 academic staff, 14 research staff and 7 PhD students.  The Division is particularly strong in the area of Statistical Ecology and the statistical ecologists are housed in a purpose-built facility at CREEM, which is a multidisciplinary centre, involving mathematicians, statisticians and quantitative biologists.  The statistical ecologists are also the largest single group in the cross-institutional National Centre for Statistical Ecology (http://www.ncse.org.uk/).

Post Doctoral Research position - chimpanzee social demography

The Department of Primatology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany is seeking a postdoctoral researcher for its Pan African program ‘The Cultured Chimpanzee’ (for more details on this project please see the report in Nature 476, 18 August 2011, pp. 266-269 and http://panafrican.eva.mpg.de/).

More specifically, the research to be conducted will address questions related to the large-scale, range-wide variation of chimpanzee social and demographic structure, as well as investigate the respective contributions of underlying drivers leading to such variability. Within the Pan African Program we are using remote video traps for collecting a unique range-wide dataset on the social and demographic structure of more than 30 chimpanzee communities of all subspecies. Additionally, a wide spectrum of ecological context information on habitat structure, food resource availability and predators will be available.  

Although standardized, the available dataset on chimpanzee social and demographic structure considerably differs from the common type of data that is available from long-term chimpanzee research sites. Data processing and analysis will therefore require new and innovative approaches including the application of available automated species detection software, the use of citizen science for species and individual classification and advanced statistical methods.  

The successful candidate will therefore need excellent organizational and quantitative skills, including statistical and programming expertise. Furthermore, since this work will be directly linked to other projects within the Pan African Program, we expect the candidate to communicate well with other researchers for mutual benefit and integrate well into the department.

The position is available for a three year period from 1 January 2014. The annual salary will be up to 36,000 Euros for German candidates depending on qualifications and an equivalent tax free stipend for foreign candidates.

Please send a Curriculum Vita, publication list, cover letter and two reference letters to Ms. Claudia Nebel (nebel@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de). Please reference “Postdoc chimpanzee social and demographic structure-The Cultured Chimpanzee” in the subject line.

Post Doctoral Research position - chimpanzee ecology

The Department of Primatology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany is seeking a postdoctoral researcher for its Pan African program ‘The Cultured Chimpanzee’ (for more details on this project please see the report in Nature 476, 18 August 2011, pp. 266-269 & http://panafrican.eva.mpg.de/).

More specifically, the research to be conducted will address questions related to the extent of  the diversity and variability of ecological conditions across chimpanzee habitats including fauna, flora and the abiotic environment and how they affect aspects of chimpanzee biology. Within the Pan African Program, we are collecting a unique dataset on habitat structure, food resource availability, sympatric animal species, climate and human impact from more than 30 sites to learn more about the environments inhabited by chimpanzees.  

Although we use standardized methods for all data collection, the entire dataset is very heterogeneous. Data processing and analysis will therefore require advanced and innovative statistical approaches for data integration and synthesis.
The successful candidate will therefore need excellent organizational and quantitative skills, including statistical and programming expertise. Furthermore, since this work will be directly linked to other projects within the Pan African Program, we expect the candidate to communicate well with other researchers for mutual benefit and integrate well into the department.

The position is available for a three year period from 1 January 2014, salary will be up to 36,000 Euros for German candidates depending on qualifications and an equivalent tax free stipend for foreign candidates.
Please send a Curriculum Vita, publication list, cover letter and two reference letters to Ms. Claudia Nebel (nebel@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de). Please reference “Postdoc chimpanzee habitat diversity-The Cultured Chimpanzee” in the subject line.

Camp & Research Administrator

We are searching for a Camp & Research Administrator (CRA) for an ongoing long-term project on bonobo socio-ecology at LuiKotale, Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The CRA has the following duties:  
  1. Camp management including administration and maintenance of logistics, infrastructure and communication.
  2. Supervision of field research including coordination of working schedules of research teams, management of long-term data, and organization of collecting, storing and transporting biological samples. The CRA is in charge of financial accounting, organizing supplies, maintenance of camp infrastructure, and communication with the research team and local assistants. The CRA represents the project to regional administrators, wildlife authorities, and village leaders. Information about the field site and research activities at LuiKotale is available at http://www.eva.mpg.de/primat/research-groups/bonobos/main-page.html?Fsize=0%2C
Qualifications:

Candidates must have field experience and an academic background in one or several of the following areas: biology, zoology, botany, ecology, anthropology. Given the importance of communication for the work of the CRA, language skills in French (oral and in writing) and English are essential. Other critical requirements are: 

  1. a strong sense of responsibility and a well developed capacity for team work
  2. above average physical fitness
  3. resistance to social/psychological stress, and
  4. practical and technical skills to maintain the technical infrastructure (e.g. solar power generator, sat-phone, sw-radio) and to organize/supervise construction work (e.g. make-shift buildings in camp). 

Candidates will need to have tolerance, social skills and a strong motivation to take on responsibility. They should be able to achieve tasks by improvisation, using the limited sources that are available and must have the capacity to live and work with an international! team of students, volunteers and local staff. Candidates with medical training will be preferred.

Salary/funding:

The monthly payment will be 700 Euro based on a contract for work and services.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging): Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):

  • food (mostly local food and some western food items)
  • lodging (in tents) at the field site
  • one domestic flight from Kinshasa to the field and back
  • contribution of up to 800 Euro to an international return flight (reimbursement only after successful completion of a 10 months term of appointment)
  • expenses for visa up to 100 Euro (reimbursement only after successful completion of a 10 months term of appointment)
  • note that expenses during the stay in Kinshasa on the way in and out of DRC, as well as the costs for supplementary health insurance and other insurances are not covered by the project.

Term of Appointment:

10 months starting as soon as possible

Comments:

Applicants should send a letter of interest that provides information that is useful for evaluating the qualifications outlined above, a CV, and two letters of recommendation.

Contact Information: 

Research positions and graduate student positions (occasionally available)

Inquiries including a description of research interests and previous experience are welcome.

If you are interested in opportunities for field research, please contact:

If you are interested in research opportunities in the genetics laboratory, please contact:

If you are interested in one of the specific projects mentioned elsewhere on the primatology website, you may contact the relevant researcher directly.