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PhD position

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Subject: PhD position
From: Nicolas Mathevon <>
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2014 10:39:55 +0200

(message posted by N.Mathevon)

PhD position (3 years; beginning : october 2014)

A PhD position is available at the Equipe de Neuro-Ethologie Sensorielle (ENES, The BioAcoustics Team, University of Saint-Etienne, France). This is a joint-project with the University of Lisbon. The PhD student will spend part of her/his time in Portugal.

Co-advisors: Profs. Nicolas Mathevon (université de Saint-Etienne) and Paulo Fonseca (Universidade de Lisboa) (Drs Clara de Amorim and Marilyn Beauchaud are also fully involved in the project).

Multimodal communication in a cichlid fish

The question of sympatric speciation is a hot topic in evolutionary biology. Cichlid fish of the African lakes offer an amazing example of evolutive radiation of sympatric species, and thus constitute a model of choice to investigate the question. Specifically, sympatric species of the Metriaclima genus differ in the colour and acoustic signals suggesting that multimodal communication may drive intra and intersexual selection. The aim of the thesis is to test the relative role of visual, acoustic and chemical signal components in agonistic interactions of the species Metriaclima zebra.  First we will evaluate agonistic reactions to unimodal (visual, acoustic or chemical) and to multimodal (combination of stimuli) components of agonistic displays. Subsequently, we will test the prevalence of different sensory channels by mismatching acoustic and visual signals, i.e. by presenting subject males with visual and acoustic cues providing opposite information on the opponent quality. By decreasing congruency of information in two sensory modalities one can assess how these are integrated and if one modality dominates over the other. A third aim will consider the integration of different sensory channels with a cross-modal paradigm. For this, subject males will be exposed to acoustic (sound playback) and visual (robot fish and video playbacks) cues with different time and spatial lags. We will also investigate how noise affects multimodal communication when the acoustic channel is impaired. Besides behavioral experiments, we will investigate the neural substrate of information coding using immediate early gene activity (immunocytochemistry).

The BioAcoustics Team website:

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