[Invasive-species] PhD Offer : alien parrots

Sonia Vanderhoeven s.vanderhoeven at biodiversity.be
Thu Nov 24 10:27:21 CET 2016

*PhD offer:*

*Alien parrots: social and genetic structure of an invasive population*

*Lead supervisor: Prof. Ben Hatchwell, University of Sheffield, APS, UK*

*Co-supervisors:   Dr. Dan Franks, Biology & Computer Science, University
of York, UK *

*                             Dr. Juan Carlos Senar; Natural History Museum
of Barcelona, Spain.*

Invasions by alien species are an increasing threat to global biodiversity
and an understanding of the process of invasion is a key requirement if we
are to mitigate the impact of this threat. The main focus of studies of
invasive species has been on the species traits and population dynamic
processes associated with successful invasions. However, individual
behaviours, social interactions and kinship are also likely to play vital
roles in determining dispersal and other key demographic traits influencing
invasion success, but these have been overlooked in previous studies. This
project will take a multidisciplinary approach to fill this important gap
in the study of biological invasions.

The studentship involves study of an invasive parrot, the monk
parakeet *Myiopsitta
monachus*, a species that has colonized cities across Europe, North America
and Asia. This species is a highly social cooperative breeder that is
unique among parrots in building communal nests that may house several
pairs. The student will use observational, experimental and molecular
genetic approaches in a population of individually marked monk parakeets
living in Barcelona, the largest European population (>5000 birds). The
growth of this invasive population has been well documented from its early
stages and its numbers are currently increasing exponentially, with a
growing impact on native biodiversity and agricultural production.

The student will:

1. Determine the genetic structure of the population at spatial and social
scales ranging from individual nests to the whole city.

2. Test the roles of behavioural interactions and relatedness as drivers of
dispersal and social associations using social network analysis.

3. Investigate how cooperation and conflict over individual investment in
communal nests determine the decision to initiate new colonies.

For more information visit:

Dr Sonia Vanderhoeven

Science Officer
Belgian Biodiversity Platform
www.bi <http://www.biodiversity.be>odiversity.be

Direction de la Nature et de l'Eau
Avenue de la Faculté, 22
B-5030 Gembloux

Tél : 081/620 438

ORCID : 0000-0002-6298-5373
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