4 PhD positions on the ‘ecology of fear’ in wildlife

4 PhD opportunities are available to work with Liana Zanette at Western University, Canada. Prof. Zanette heads the world’s leading research group experimentally testing the effects of predator-induced fear on the population and community dynamics of wildlife, and has published seminal papers demonstrating that fear itself (perceived predation risk) is powerful enough to affect wildlife population dynamics (Science 2011), the fear of large carnivores can itself cause a trophic cascade (Nature Communications 2016), and the fear the human “super predator” inspires in large carnivores can in turn have cascading effects on ecosystems (Proc R Soc B 2017). PhD 1 will conduct the first ever comprehensive test of the total impact of fear on the population growth rate in wildlife. PhD 2 will conduct the first fully manipulative experimental test of whether the fear of large carnivores affects the demography of large herbivores, and has cascading trophic impacts on plant responses. PhD 3 will test the demographic and behavioural impacts the fear of lions has on their ungulate prey. PhD 4 will test whether ‘interrogating’ wildlife about their fear of humans can be used as a tool to diagnose the extent and intensity of poaching and disturbance by ecotourists. PhDs 1 and 2 will be conducted on song sparrows and black-tailed deer respectively, on Canada’s Gulf Islands, and PhDs 3 and 4 will be conducted in private game reserves in South Africa. Applicants should have an MSc, a passion for research, experience conducting field experiments, publications in internationally-competitive journals, evidence of research/interest in the ecology of fear, and have or be well-positioned to compete for an external scholarship. Western guarantees a minimum stipend for up to four years. Applicants should provide: (1) a cover letter; (2) CV with names of 3 referees; and (3) unofficial transcripts from previous degrees. Use the subject line “Ecology of fear PhD” and e-mail materials to lzanette@uwo.ca. Review of applications will begin 15 January 2018.