Project properties

Title The effect of early Testosterone on DNA methylation and great tit (Parus major) personality
Group Behavioural Ecology
Project type thesis
Credits 12-36
Supervisor(s) Bernice Sepers & Prof. dr. Kees van Oers (NIOO-KNAW)
Examiner(s) Bernice Sepers & Prof. dr. Kees van Oers (NIOO-KNAW)
Contact info or
Begin date 2020/03/03
End date 2021/09/03
Description Just like humans, great tits consistently differ in a set of correlated behavioural traits. These so called personality traits have a genetic basis, but are shaped by the environment. DNA Methylation is a chemical change of the DNA that has a heritable component and is known to affect gene expression. However, DNA methylation is also affected by the environment. We are interested in how early experiences in the nest affect DNA methylation and if this could explain variation in great tit personality. Therefore, we will conduct experiments in a natural study population in the Netherlands.

For next breeding season (March-August 2020), we are looking for a highly motivated, independent students in ecology/biology to join us during the fieldwork. This topic is suitable for both long and short term projects.
After that we will have several projects to explore the data collected in this project.
Come and talk with us for possibilities
Used skills This project offers the opportunity to become affiliated with fieldwork, bird handling and behavioural tests. Additionally, the student will develop his or her research skills. There is room to come up with research questions (within the scope of the project) and to analyze data collected during the (previous) breeding season.
Requirements Good to know:
A driver license is very useful if field work is part of the thesis
Fieldwork requires the ability to work under extreme field conditions
Fieldwork requires flexibility in time, also outside the normal working hours
Your field area is in the estate Westerheide (5 km from Arnhem)