State University (KY)
Note: Funding opportunities have recently become available (see below).
To be considered for a TAship and/or the biodiversity stipend starting
in the fall semester 2018, application should be submitted by 2/21/18.
The Beckers’ Lab at Murray State University accepts a Masters student
who is interested in the evolution of animal communication starting in
the fall of 2018. Our lab uses Orthopterans (i.e., katydids, and
crickets) as model organisms to address questions pertaining the
evolution of animal behavior. More specifically, we study the effects
of the environment (i.e., phenotypic plasticity) on mating songs. In
our main study species, Neoconephalus triops, day length induces two
substantially different mating songs. These differences in the songs
are comparable to species differences within the genus. In a
collaboration with two other labs (Missouri and West Virginia), we
study the genetic underpinnings of this behavioral plasticity and how
the involved genes relate to speciation.
A second line of research focuses on the evolutionary arms race between
katydid hosts and their eavesdropping parasites in the local population
of N. triops. The flies use the katydid mating songs to find their
hosts and deposit deadly larvae on them. Thus, sexual selection and
natural selection act in opposing directions on male singing behavior.
The evolutionary ramifications of this deadly parasitism on male
singing and mate acquisition behavior are the focus of future studies.
The Masters students could work on either of these projects or on other
projects related to animal communication in katydids and crickets.
I seek driven, enthusiastic, and focused students to join our lab at
Murray State University. Successful applicants have a B.S. in biology,
ecology, or related discipline and are interested in studying animal
behavior and evolution. If you are interested in this opportunity
and/or have any questions, please email Dr. Beckers at
firstname.lastname@example.org. For your application, make sure to address in
an attached document your research interests, how they relate to the
Beckers’ lab research, and your GPA.
Funding for tuition and a summer stipend are available for the N.
triops project through a grant. In addition, a TAship and/or a
biodiversity stipend ($5000 per semester) are available on a
competitive basis. Review of applications starts immediately. Deadline
for applications is February 21, 2018 to be considered for a TAship or
the biodiversity stipend for the fall semester of 2018. Once you
indicated interest in the position, an interview will be set up shortly
Please find more information on Dr. Beckers’ research here:
Information on the Department of Biological Sciences at MSU:
Oliver Beckers <email@example.com>