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post-doc in songbird neuro-ethology

Subject: post-doc in songbird neuro-ethology
From: Nicolas Mathevon <>
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2006 08:58:44 +0100

A postdoctoral position in songbird neuroethology, funded by the French
National Research Agency (ANR), is available from September 2007 in Pr.
Nicolas Mathevon's Lab working on Sensory Ecology & NeuroEthology in
Jean Monnet University, Saint-Etienne, France.

The work will be centered on the ANR funded project "Birds' voices:
multilevel integration of neuronal signals during vocal recognition in a
songbird communication network". This project aims at understanding the
acoustic-based individual recognition processes in the zebra finch
Taeniopygia guttata. This goal will be achieved using 3 major
approaches: (1) the description of the activity of brain nuclei
implicated in vocal recognition between individuals, (2) the
determination of capacities for long-term memorization of individual
voices (partner, parents, offspring and familiar individuals), and (3)
the investigation of social context impact on vocal recognition
processes in order to understand the mechanisms underlying the 'audience
effect'. This work will offer the opportunity to integrate different
levels of analysis from behaviour (playback experiments), to
neuro-metabolic activity of brain neuronal networks (femtosecond
biophotonics, electrophysiology) and genes activation within these
networks (immunocytochemistry of immediate early gene expression).

The successful applicant should have a PhD in a relevant subject area
(neuroethology, neuroscience) and good communication skills to interact
in different research fields. Experience of in-vivo electrophysiology
would be desirable. Skills in mathematics and signal analysis would be

The position has a 12-month initial employment basis, and may be
renewable for 18 months upon positive evaluation. The salary is EUR
2110/month, plus full benefits of French public medical care.

The position is based in Jean Monnet University (Saint-Etienne,
France). It offers the opportunity to spend three months in Paris XI
University (Orsay, France) to perform electrophysiology experiments
under the supervision of Dr. Catherine del Negro.

The city of Saint-Etienne is located in the middle of France, at a
two-hour drive to the Alps or a three-hour drive to the Mediterranean
sea. Saint-Etienne stands less than three hours from Paris by train, and
offers several cultural and sportive activities (opera theatre, golf,...).
The town is situated on the border of the Pilat regional park
(, a mountainous and forest area which
presents many recreational opportunities. Average rent for a studio
apartment in Saint-Etienne is around EUR 300/month.

Please send your application, which should include your CV, summary of
your current research and contact information of at least two references

Review of applications will begin on January 8, 2007, and will continue
until the position is filled.

Selected publications of the research group:
Lehongre K, Lenouvel P, Draganoiu T, Del Negro C, 2006. Long-term
effect of isolation-rearing conditions on songs of an 'open-ended' song
learner species, the canary. Animal Behaviour, 72:1319-1327.
Ramstein S, Vignal C, Mathevon N, Mottin S, 2005. In vivo and
noninvasive measurement of a songbird head's optical properties. Applied
Optics, 44:6197-6204.
Del Negro C, Lehongre K, Edeline JM, 2005. Selectivity of canary HVC
neurons for the Bird's Own Song: Modulation by photoperiodic conditions.
Journal of Neuroscience, 25, 4952-4963.
Vignal C, Andru J, Mathevon N, 2005. Social context modulates
behavioural and brain immediate early gene responses to sound in male
songbird. European Journal of Neuroscience, 22:949-955.
Vignal C, Mathevon N, Mottin S, 2004. Audience drives male songbird
response to partner's voice. Nature, 430:448-451.
Charrier I, Mathevon N, Jouventin P, 2003. Vocal signature recognition
of mothers by fur seal pups. Animal Behaviour, 65: 543-550.
Charrier I, Mathevon N, Jouventin P, 2001. Mother's voice recognition by
seal pups. Nature, 412: 873.
Nicolas Mathevon
Universite Jean Monnet
Institut universitaire de France
The BioAcoustics Team
Faculte des Sciences
23 rue Michelon
42023 Saint-Etienne cedex


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