Ph.D. Research Opportunity: The ecophysiology of dwarf lemur hibernation in northwestern Madagascar

By Lydia Greene, Ph.D.
October 11, 2022

Project Description

We seek a motivated Malagasy student to conduct Ph.D. research on hibernation in wild dwarf lemurs in northwestern Madagascar, under the supervision of Drs. Marina Blanco and Lydia Greene (Duke Lemur Center, Duke University, USA) and academic advisement of Drs. Fanomezana Ratsoavina and Zafimahery Rakotomalala (MZBA, University of Antananarivo, Madagascar). The aim of the study is to research the ecology, physiology, and biology of active and hibernating dwarf lemurs in their natural habitat and under semi-captive conditions. The research program will require spending approximately 8 months per year (March-October with no vacation), for 2-3 years (2023-2025), conducting field research. The chosen candidate must be available to begin work in March 2023.

The selected candidate will lead the project following formal training from research supervisors, including relevant field methods and data collection. An on-site, logistical team will then support the candidate during field activities, while the research supervisors will offer virtual support during routine meetings. Following field work, the research supervisors will provide training in data analysis and formal academic writing. The data will contribute to the candidate’s dissertation research. In addition, the student will be the lead author on minimally 1 and possibly more academic publications, written in collaboration with the supervisory and field teams.

Salary/funding: The candidate will be financially supported following university recommendations. All living expenses at the field site, travel to and from the field site, and research equipment will be provided. The student will be responsible for providing their own personal items necessary during the study period (e.g., clothing).

Term of Appointment: 3 years, beginning March 2023.

Application Information

To apply, candidates must:

(1) Have completed a Masters in Animal Biodiversity, Primatology, Animal Behavior, Biological Anthropology, Biology, Ecology, or a related field.

And be:

(1)   passionate about nocturnal lemurs

(2)   eager to work both independently and collaboratively

(3)   prepared to handle, sample, collar, track, and monitor wild dwarf lemurs

(4)   physically fit and able to work at night in difficult terrain

(5)   comfortable spending months under field conditions

(6)   willing to live alone in the forest for an extended period

(7)   comfortable using excel and working with databases

(8)   good at time management and report preparation

(9)   proficient in English, written and spoken

(10) interested in data analysis and formal academic writing

(11) able to communicate with non-scientific public through talks, presentations, etc.

We encourage candidates to apply if they:

(1) have experience conducting field work on small nocturnal lemurs, including behavioral data collection, nocturnal tracking, and animal handling

(2) enjoy working under difficult field conditions (hot, steep, and/or rainy terrain)

(3) have an adventurous personality and are good problem solvers when challenged

Application Instructions: Please direct all initial inquiries regarding the application process or project to Dr. Fano Ratsoavina ( and Dr. Marina Blanco ( Please submit the following documents in ENGLISH and in a single PDF file (please name pdf file as family name.pdf):

(1) A brief cover letter describing yourself and your motivation to do this project. Include dates you are available.

(2) A recent CV including relevant degrees, coursework, previous field experience, and where/how you can be contacted.

(3) Contact information for two people (preferably professors or research supervisors) who can speak to your previous experiences, skills, and training.

Application Deadline: October 31, 2022

Interviews will be scheduled for potential candidates in November and December 2022.