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February 14, 2016 / Rob Dyball

Two postdoctoral researchers in Theoretical Ecology

Two postdoctoral positions are available in the research group of Prof. André de Roos, the Theoretical Ecology group within the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam. The Theoretical Ecology group currently comprises two professors, three assistant professors, four postdoctoral researchers and seven PhD candidates, and currently hosts two ERC Advanced Grants. It has active research programs in structured population modelling, resource-consumer interactions, epidemiology, demography, and evolutionary and eco-evolutionary theory.

Project description

As part of the research program “Eco-evolutionary dynamics of community self-organization through ontogenetic asymmetry”, which is funded by an ERC Advanced Grant to Prof. dr. André de Roos, IBED has vacancies for two postdoctoral researchers. This research program focuses on the ecology and evolution of the complex life cycles that characterize the majority of animal species. In species with such life cycles juveniles and adults (or smaller and larger individuals) often differ in their energetic efficiency, as they feed on different resources. Recent research has shown that this so-called ‘ontogenetic asymmetry in energetics’ has counterintuitive consequences for population dynamics and may lead to self-organization in species interactions, but it is not yet known to what extent it also shapes the interaction networks in ecological communities in general. The two main questions addressed in the ERC research project therefore are:

1. Under what conditions does ontogenetic asymmetry in energetics evolve as a driver of self- organization in ecological communities?

2. To what extent has ontogenetic asymmetry in energetics contributed to the diversity of life and the evolution of complex life cycles?

Both postdoctoral projects will be embedded in the larger context of the research program sketched above. The precise topic of each of the two projects is yet to be determined and may also depend on the experience and interests of the postdoctoral cresearchers themselves, as long as the topic fits within the larger research theme of the program. The research involves the formulation of population dynamic models that account for population size distributions and complex life cycles. Models will be analysed using both analytical as well as numerical approaches, such as numerical bifurcation programs and simulations, to develop theory about the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of population with complex life cycles. Model predictions will be confronted with experimental and empirical data from the literature or available through collaborations with other research groups.


* PhD in mathematical/theoretical ecology or mathematical biology, or similar background;
* Documented experience with development and analysis of physiologically or size-structured population models is an absolute requirement;
* Good publication record in theoretical ecology and/or evolutionary ecology;
* Programming skills: the project will use C, Matlab and possibly other languages;
* Fluent in English;
* Good scientific writing skills;
* Ability to work in a multidisciplinary research team.

For additional information, please contact:  Prof. André M. de Roos (


These postdoc positions will start in spring 2016. The full-time appointments will be on a temporary basis for initially one year with extensions of one year after a positive assessment of the employees. The full-time gross monthly salary will range from € 2,532 to € 3,996. The Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities is applicable. The annual salary will be increased by 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.

Job application

Applications should include a detailed CV with a list of publications, a description of research experience and interests, and the names and contact addresses of two academic references from whom information about the candidate can be obtained. Combine all these items into a single PDF file.

Applications should be sent by email only before 21 February 2016 to Please quote vacancy number 16-012 in the subject field. Interviews, possibly via Skype, will be held soon after 21 February 2016.

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