Two PhD scholarships in birdsong diversity and cultural evolution in wild populations of NZ native birds are available at the School of Natural Sciences at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand. The focal species are Tui, NZ Bellbird/Koromiko and NI Saddleback/Tieke. These PhD research projects are part of a Marsden Funded project with Professor Dianne Brunton that aims to identify the mechanisms that drive cultural evolution of song in natural songbird populations and the influence of forest fragmentation. The research will be based at two predator-controlled conservation sites near Auckland.
One project will focus on the mechanisms underpinning song dialect evolution including, dispersal, fragmentation, and song learning. This project will include agent-based modelling. The second project will focus on quantifying social networks and testing song learning hypotheses. Both PhD’s will work on all three species and both sites, working together in the field to meet the projects objectives. Department of Conservation permits have already been approved and fieldwork is aiming to start in early 2023.
Applicants should have excellent field skills, particularly in bird capture (mistnetting) banding, transmitter attachment, and statistical and analysis competency. Applicants should also have completed a MSc degree or equivalent (with a substantial thesis component) in a relevant discipline. The PhD students will be supported by the entire team made up of New Zealand and international researchers.
The award stipend is $35,000 (New Zealand dollars) per annum, and tuition fees are covered. Tenure is 3 years full-time. Note that the New Zealand PhD degree does not include coursework.
For further information see
or contact Professor Dianne Brunton at firstname.lastname@example.org