Skip to content Skip to navigation

PhD: Arthropod Paleontology PhD Projects

Project Title

Arthropod Paleontology PhD Projects


University of Lausanne, Institute of Earth Sciences

Supervisors and Institutions

Prof Allison C. Daley (University of Lausanne)

Funding Status

Funding is in place for this project

Project Description


The University of Lausanne is a higher teaching and research institution composed of seven faculties where approximately 15,000 students and nearly 5,000 collaborators, professors, and researchers work and study. Ideally situated along the lake of Geneva, near Lausanne’s city center, its campus brings together over 120 nationalities.


Two fully-funded PhD positions are currently available in the Animal Origins and Morphology Lab (ANOM Lab: at the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Lausanne. These two projects, each fully-funded for four years, are supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the successful applicants will work under the supervision of Prof. Allison Daley. The PhD projects will build on an existing research program examining evolution during the Cambrian Explosion and Ordovician Radiation, using fossils from exceptionally preserved fossil localities. The ANOM Lab comprises three post-docs and two PhD students currently in Lausanne, and numerous international collaborations.

Job information

Expected start date in position : 01.07.2018 – or upon agreement

Contract length : 4 years

Activity rate : 100 %

Workplace : University of Lausanne, Faculty of Geosciences and Environment, Institute of Earth Sciences

Your responsibilities

The Fezouata Biota is a recently discovered locality in Morocco that contains exceptionally preserved soft-bodied fossils as well as mineralized taxa. An early Ordovician age places it between the Cambrian Explosion and the Ordovician Radiation, making it ideally suited to provide crucial information on these major evolutionary events. The PhD projects will significantly contribute to the description of the arthropods that characterize the Fezouata Biota, and will address questions related to their affinities and interrelationships, as well as their population dynamics and life history strategies.

Both projects involve extensive examination of exceptionally preserved arthropod fossils, including their preparation, photography, and analysis. Descriptive papers of new taxa will form the bulk of the early stages of the projects, providing the core data for analyses on functional morphology, phylogenetics, and quantitative ecological methods later in the projects. The successful candidates will have the opportunity to develop paleontological fieldwork skills, and run comparative ecological analyses on modern arthropods in our newly built research aquaria. One of the PhD projects will focus on horseshoe crab fossils, and the other will focus on trilobites. Both posts will be hired simultaneously, and detailed work-plans will be developed with the appointed candidates based on their experiences and interests.

Your qualifications

The ideal candidate for either PhD project will have a Masters degree or equivalent in Earth Sciences or Life Sciences, with a background in paleontology. Preferably, the candidate will have experience working with arthropod fossil or extant material. Expertise in preparing, photographing and analysing fossil material is desirable, as is experience with quantitative methods and working with data analysis programs (PAST, Paup, TNT, etc.). Experience of geological fieldwork and working with modern animals in aquaria is also desirable. Excellent writing skills in English are required, and knowledge of French language is desirable.

What the position offers you

Situated near the Swiss Alps on the shore of beautiful Lake Geneva, on the edge of the UNESCO World Heritage Lavaux Terraced Vineyards, Lausanne offers an exceptional quality of life. The Institute of Earth Sciences (ISTE) is situated in the new Geopolis building, which houses state-of-the-art research facilities including the national SwissSIMS facility. The paleontology laboratories house three SEMs, including a newly purchased Variable Pressure Cryo-SEM, purpose-built research aquaria, and extensive fossil preparation and imaging facilities. The students will join a vibrant and friendly academic environment of international researchers and students, who cover a full range of topics across the earth sciences.

Contact for further information

Allison Daley, Institute of Earth sciences at the University of Lausanne, Géopolis building CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. Email: Telephone : Phone: +41 (0)21 692 43 77.

Your application

Apply for these positions through the UNIL website here:

Applications should include a CV, a letter of motivation including information on previous research experience and publications if available, and the names of two persons who can be contacted for references.

Review of the applications will start on 14 May 2018, but applications will be considered until the positions are filled. Applicants should be prepared to interview at the end of May.

Please send your full application in Word or PDF.

Only applications through this website will be taken into account.

We thank you for your understanding.

Additional information

UNIL is committed to promoting gender equality and strongly encourages applications from female candidates.

Contact Name

Allison Daley

Contact Email

Link to More Information

Closing Date

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Expiry Date

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
PalAss Go! URL: | Twitter: Share on Twitter | Facebook: Share on Facebook | Google+: Share on Google+