Post-doctoral position on animal communication & urban evolution

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Post-doctoral position on animal communication & urban evolution
  • Doctorate
Are you interested in animal communication? And want to know how species adapt to a life in the city? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

For the ERC-funded project CITISENSE we are searching for a post-doc who will assess urban evolution by comparing real and artificial phenotypes. In the project we aim to understand whether and how male túngara frogs have adapted their acoustic sexual signals to urban sensory conditions such as anthropogenic noise and artificial light. We would like to run an experimental evolution experiment under urban and forest field conditions, by making use of a system of evolvable artificial acoustic phenotypes. You will be in charge of developing and employing automated setups that will allow us to carry out interactive playbacks in the tropical rainforest of Panama.  

Your duties
  • develop and apply novel field techniques within the project’s scope
  • publish results in scientific journals


  • a PhD degree in the field of ecology and evolution
  • experience with behavioral experiments in the lab or the field
  • expert skills in signal analyses/acoustics, and/or, engineering/programming
  • excellent ability to communicate in both written and spoken English
  • good social skills, ability to work independently and strong scientific motivation

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,709 (scale 10) and a maximum €4,274 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 2 years, with the possibility of extension.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge, discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance);

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,500 students. We employ more than 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

The department and project
The Department of Ecological Sciences ( answers fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions regarding the relationship between organisms and their environment at the full array of hierarchical levels: from molecular ecology to ecosystem research. The department comprises a dynamic community of researchers and provides an excellent research environment with state-of-the-art facilities and high quality training. 

The application is part of the project CITISENSE, funded through the European Research Council (ERC-stg grant to Dr. Halfwerk). The project aims to understand whether and how the communication system of túngara frogs is evolving in response to urbanization. Fieldwork is carried out in Central Panama in collaboration with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 15 December 2019. The job interviews are planned for Januari 2020, when possible please take them into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy or the project description, you may contact:

Name: Wouter Halfwerk
Position: Assistent Professor
Telephone: +31(0)20-5987046

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