Understanding variation in life history traits across the tree of life
I’m looking for theoretically oriented master students with an interest in understanding the wide range of variation in life histories among species, and the dynamics that give rise to this variation. The master project will be based on a combination of ecological modeling and analyses of matrix models published in the database COMADRE. This data base contains models and relevant study data from hundreds of animal species from different taxa (the latest version contains 2278 matrix population models, 421 taxonomic species, 639 studies), giving a unique opportunity to investigate patterns of life history variation.
Specific projects and research questions will be designed together with the candidate to meet their interests and ambitions. Potential research questions include
- How much do different life history traits (e.g. generation time, net reproductive rate) vary among populations within species compared to variation among species?
- How do life history traits vary throughout seasons compared to among years?
- How well are parameters affecting extinction risk (demographic and environmental variance) be predicted by other life history traits and by external factors like geographic location?
The student will be included in a friendly and stimulating work environment including PhD candidates and post docs, and presented with several opportunities for collaboration (including international collaboration with the developers of the database).
Some experience with R coding will be an advantage for doing this project; however the student will receive much guidance and help in performing the analyses. The main model framework is matrix models, and the student will learn more about this model framework and develop the relevant analyses together with the supervisors. In addition to the work involved with analysing data for their own project, the candidate may be involved in the development of the databases, and thereby also learn about the construction and maintenance of open access databases (highly valued experience for scientists today).
Main supervisor (other supervisors may also be involved):
- Yngvild Vindenes (https://www.mn.uio.no/cees/english/people/core/yngvildv/)
Suitable for students in the following disciplines:
- ‘Ecology and Evolution’
- ‘Biodiversity and systematics’