The cascading effects of climate change on primate food availability, behavior, and survival

Supervisor: Urs Kalbitzer, University of Konstanz and Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior

December 16, 2021

Climate change is affecting ecosystems around the world and impacting the behavior and survival of animals. There is mounting evidence that primate populations are increasingly being impacted by climate change, and long-term comprehensive studies are crucial to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the links between climate change and primate population dynamics. Yet such studies are largely missing.


Project: The goal of this project to investigate how climate change affects the endangered red colobus (Piliocolobus tephrosceles) in Kibale National Park, Uganda using a unique longitudinal data set of climatic, ecological, behavioral, and survival data. The specific aims are to investigate: (1) How variability in climate affects the availability of red colobus plant food resources; (2) If and how variability in food resource availability and climate is linked to red colobus diet and behavior; and (3) how climate, food availability, and behavior affect reproductive rates and infant survival.

Qualifications: I am seeking a doctoral student with: (i) a quantitative background and experience in statistical modelling; (ii) enthusiasm for plant ecology and animal behavior; (iii) proficiency in R and working with complex datasets; (iv) demonstrated experience conducting field work in tropical areas - as part of this project it will be essential to collect additional data for several months in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Prior experience with the analysis of spatial and temporal data and with Git/GitHub will be positively considered.

Supervision and Research Community: The doctoral student will be supervised by Dr. Urs Kalbitzer and join an interdisciplinary and international team at the Department of Biology at the University of Konstanz, the IMPRS-QBEE, and the Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies at the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior (led by Prof. Dr. Meg Crofoot). Furthermore, the student will be advised by Prof. Dr. Colin Chapman (Wilson Center, USA), who has led the research project on the ecology of red colobus in Kibale since 1989.

Application: Applicants should include a statement that describe your academic background, research interests and research experience, and explain how they relate to the goals of this project (1 page). Furthermore, it should describe how you would tackle the research questions explained above using quantitative methods (0.5 page). Furthermore, it should describe how you would tackle the research questions explained above using quantitative methods (0.5 page). For the general IMPRS-QBEE application instructions, please see

Questions: For further information regarding the position, please feel free to contact Urs Kalbitzer  (

The University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Society are equal opportunity employers that are committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or disability. They seek to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage women to apply  (Equal opportunity). Persons with disabilities are explicitly encouraged to apply. They will be given preference if appropriately qualified (contact +49 7531 88 4016).

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