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PhD position in evolutionary biology, social supergene maintenance, University of Lausanne

Department of Ecology and Evolution

Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A Ph.D. position in evolutionary biology is available in the group of Prof. Michel Chapuisat at the Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. The group studies social evolution. We are currently investigating the evolution and maintenance of a supergene controlling social organization in ants. Our approach combines genomics, genetics, behavioral experiments and ecological surveys in the field. For more information, see

Animal societies vary greatly in social organization, yet the genomic, behavioral and ecological processes causing this diversity are poorly understood. The Alpine silver ant Formica selysi provides an ideal system to study the evolution of alternative social organization, because a supergene – a large group of linked genes – determines whether the colony has one or multiple queens. The successful candidate will perform experiments to better understand the genomic, behavioral and/or ecological factors contributing to the maintenance of this social polymorphism.

Your qualifications:
In order to complete our team, we are looking for someone with a Master’s degree in biology, life sciences, genetics, bioinformatics, or related subjects. Applicants should have knowledge and skills pertaining to evolutionary biology, genetics, genomics, behavior or ecology. We are looking for a creative, curious and motivated person with excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

What the position offers you:
We offer a nice working place in a multicultural, diverse and dynamic academic environment, with opportunities for professional training. The Department of Ecology and Evolution in Lausanne University hosts research groups working on a broad range of topics, producing a rich intellectual and social life. Although French is the common language in Lausanne region, the department research activities and seminars are conducted in English. The University of Lausanne offers state-of-the-art facilities, including excellent computer facilities and molecular labs.

Contact for further information:
Prof. Michel Chapuisat :

Your application:
Deadline: 24.02.2020, but incoming applications will continue to be considered until the position is filled.

To apply, please upload a single pdf document containing: a cover letter with a short description of your research interests, research experience, and why you are interested in joining our group; Your CV; The contact details of 2-3 referees; A copy of your Master degree; Your Master’s thesis summary.

To receive full consideration, application documents should be uploaded online through the University of Lausanne recruitment platform.

Please apply through this webpage:

Funding Notes

Please apply through this webpage: View Website


Brelsford et al. (2020) An ancient and eroded social supergene is widespread across Formica ants. Current Biology 30: 304-311.
Avril et al. (2019) Asymmetric assortative mating and queen polyandry are linked to a supergene controlling ant social organization. Molecular Ecology 28: 1428-1438.
Avril et al. (2019) No mate preference associated with the supergene controlling social organization in Alpine silver ants. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 32 : 742-748.
Purcell et al. (2014) Convergent genetic architecture underlies social organization in ants. Current Biology 24: 2728-2732.

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