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Name of scholarship/program

Tool Use in New Caledonian Crows

Important description

New Caledonian crows Corvus moneduloides are amongst the most prolific non-human tool users. In the wild, they use at least three distinct tool types to extract invertebrate prey from deadwood and vegetation, with some of their tools requiring complex manufacture, modification and/or deployment. Most research to date has focused on the species’ cognitive abilities and on mapping natural variation in tool morphology, but the evolutionary, ecological and social contexts of these birds’ unusual tool-use behaviour remain poorly understood.
Recent work by Dr Christian Rutz’s group has opened up a range of exciting research avenues, some of which could be explored productively as part of this 4-year PhD project. There is considerable flexibility with regards to specific research objectives, but the successful candidate is likely to conduct both fieldwork and lab-based experiments, with excellent scope for collaboration with other group members (currently, 2 Postdocs and 3 PhD students).
This fully-funded PhD project offers excellent opportunities for a highly motivated and capable student: to join a dynamic and expanding research group; to conduct topical research on animal tool use and social learning in a high-profile study system; to participate in an established, well-funded and prolific research project; and to receive training in state-of-the-art ecological research techniques. The group is based in the School of Biology, University of St Andrews -- an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the project’s core research fields.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Christian Rutz (http://www.FindAPhD.com/search/EmailEnquiry.aspx?fapjid=38238&LID=1443&EA=christian.rutz@st-andrews.ac.uk"">christian.rutz@st-andrews.ac.uk ).

Eligibility and other criteria
This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. The funding is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Application deadline
*30 April 2013

Additional information, and important URL

+ excellent academic track record
+ demonstrable skill and enthusiasm for behavioural research and fieldwork
+ high degree of self-motivation and independence
+ ability and willingness to live and work overseas (for extended time periods and sometimes under challenging field conditions)
+ clean driving licence
+ prior research experience is an advantage, but not essential

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