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PhD: Shark extinction mechanisms

Project Title

Shark extinction mechanisms


University of Zurich

Supervisors and Institutions

Supervisor: Dr. Catalina Pimiento; University of Zurich Collaborator: Dr. Daniele Silvestro; University of Freiburg

Funding Status

Funding is in place for this project

Project Description

We are offering a fully funded PhD position in evolutionary biology, focused on modelling evolutionary processes using shark paleontological and neontological data. The successful candidate will work in a Swiss National Science Foundation project that aims at establishing the factors that predict extinction risk in the past and future. The specific objectives of the PhD project include: a) estimating shark extinction rates in the geological past; b) forecasting future shark extinctions; and c) modelling biological determinants of extinction. These can be re-defined based on the interests and skills of the selected candidate.

The student will be enrolled in the PhD Program in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Zurich (UZH) and will be hosted at the Palaeontological Institute and Museum (PIM) under the supervision of Dr. Catalina Pimiento. The candidate will be able to learn new methods in computational biology in collaboration with Dr. Daniele Silvestro. Additionally, the student will be offered ample opportunities to learn from world-leading experts in palaeontology, ecology and conservation. The position will be fully funded for 3 years, with a possible 1-year extension.

The successful candidate will:
• Be highly motivated to pursue their research project.
• Have received a Master's degree or equivalent by the start of the PhD.
• Have a biological or palaeontological background.
• Have excellent communication skills in English (written and spoken).
• Be willing to collect large sets of data and learn new methods in R or Python.
• Have the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Non-essential but desirable criteria include experience in quantitative methods in paleobiology using R or Python and basic knowledge on shark biology, ecology or conservation.

The UZH is one of the top research institutions in Europe and the city offers the conditions for an excellent quality of life. With a critical mass of researchers in Palaeontology and Evolutionary Biology, the UZH offers exceptional conditions for research and study. The PIM further offers state-of-the-art research facilities in an international and stimulating academic environment.

To apply, please send your application as a single PDF via e-mail to including:
1. Short cover letter (max 2 pages) explaining background, motivation and research interests.
2. A CV including any publications, pre-prints, or manuscripts, if applicable.
3. Contact information for 2-3 referees who may be contacted during the evaluation process.

The deadline to apply is April 1st (included) but applications will be considered until the position is filled. Candidates will be evaluated by a committee and those shortlisted will be invited for an interview (by Zoom or in person) in the summer of 2021. The selected candidate is expected to start in September 2021 (negotiable).

Contact Name

Catalina Pimiento

Contact Email

Link to More Information

Expiry Date

Thursday, April 1, 2021
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