Graduate Student Positions in Bioacoustics
The Animal Communication Lab in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and
Behavior (EEB) at the University of Minnesota has graduate teaching
assistantships for two Ph.D. students starting in the Fall semester of
2006. The application deadline is December 15, 2005.
Research: We seek to understand the mechanisms, function, and evolution of
acoustic communication. We take a question-oriented, hypothesis-driven
approach that is integrative, comparative, and multi-disciplinary, and that
draws on questions and methods from behavioral ecology, evolutionary
biology, comparative psychology, human psychoacoustics, and neurophysiology.
We currently use anuran amphibians (frogs and toads) as model systems,
although work on other taxa is also possible. Ongoing projects focus on two
major questions. First, what is the role of acoustic signaling in mediating
the aggressive male-male interactions that arise from sexual selection and
take place in social environments that are both temporally and spatially
variable? In this context, our work investigates vocally mediated social
recognition, behavioral plasticity and learning, and honest signaling in
male frogs that defend calling sites or breeding territories. Second, how
does the auditory system perceive acoustic signals in a noisy social
environment? In this context, we are investigating questions related to
?auditory scene analysis? and the ?cocktail party problem? ? two phenomena
known from human hearing research ? in order to understand how the anuran
auditory system forms ?auditory objects? of acoustic signals and segregates
the signals of one male from the background noise of a chorus.
Funding: Funding includes a stipend (minimum of $14,692 for a 9-month
appointment as a teaching assistant), tuition waiver, and health benefits
(95%) and can be guaranteed for up to five years with a combination of
research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowships. Summer
funding is also likely. External funding for the auditory scene analysis
project is currently pending. If funded, students may be supported by the
grant in the spring and summer months to engage in research full-time.
Environment: The Graduate Program in EEB links faculty and students
interested in the biology of organisms from molecules to ecosystems. Studies
address questions from molecular mechanisms of evolution, the interactions
of organisms in social groups and populations, the distributions and
abundances of species in communities and ecosystems, to global
biogeochemical processes. The program provides broad training in the general
areas of ecology, evolution, and animal behavior, and specialized courses
and research in vertebrate and invertebrate zoology; behavior and ethology;
evolution; population genetics; molecular evolution; systematics;
population, community and ecosystem ecology; global ecology, limnology,
paleoecology, ecology of vegetation, and theoretical ecology.
Qualifications: Applicants must have a Bachelor?s degree (or equivalent for
international students) in biology, psychology, or a related area and should
have strong interests in animal acoustic communication. Students admitted
to the Ph.D. program in EEB must have outstanding credentials and seek a
career in research. Experience working in the field, handling live animals,
programming in C++ or Matlab, and/or recording and analyzing sounds will be
considered a plus!
Information: More information can be found at the following websites:
Animal Communication Lab: www.tc.umn.edu/~mbee.
Graduate Program in EEB: http://www.cbs.umn.edu/eeb/graduateprogram/
Dept. of EEB: http://www.cbs.umn.edu/eeb
University of Minnesota: http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/index.php
How to Apply: The application deadline for Fall 2006 is December 15, 2005.
Interested students are encouraged to initiate contact early by visiting the
lab web page (www.tc.umn.edu/~mbee) for more information on how to join the
lab or by contacting Mark Bee directly (612-624-6749,
Dr. Mark A. Bee
Dept. Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior
University of Minnesota
1987 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108