Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Biomechanics And Aerodynamics Of Insect Flight
University of Oxford - Department Of Zoology

Grade 7: Salary 28,839 p.a.

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Assistant to work
under the supervision of Dr Richard Bomphrey (PI) based in the
Department of Zoology, within the Oxford Flight Group on the
aerodynamics of insect flight. The post is funded by EPSRC and is
available for three years from February 2010. A PhD in Biomechanics or
fluid mechanics with a general understanding of evolutionary biology is

Insects are the most diverse order of animals on earth and flight may be
considered the key to this success. However, despite hundreds of
millions of years of evolution, insect wings have not converged on a
single optimal shape. This project seeks to understand how and why
insect wing shapes have such variation despite intense selective
pressure for aerodynamic performance, and why morphologies change when
transitioning between ecological niches.

The successful candidate will undertake experiments of two types. One
will measure the aerodynamic efficiency of different insect wing
morphologies observed across insects with varying ecological functions.
This will entail measurement of the downwash distribution behind a
representative set of insects to correlate morphological and ecological
parameters with aerodynamic efficiency. The second will characterise the
flow topologies utilised by insects throughout the wing beat cycle and
exploit the data to group insect flow patterns by their ecological
function, thus determining wing design criteria.

Further particulars and application forms can be downloaded from the
web: or are available from the Personnel
Office, Department of Zoology, Tinbergen Building, South Parks Road,
Oxford OX1 3PS (tel: 01865 271190; email:
Applications, together with CV and contact details of three referees,
should be sent to the above address, quoting reference number AT09038.

The closing date for applications is 12.00 noon on 13 January 2010