PhD Studentship in Evolutionary Biology at Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Switzerland

Both PhD students will participate in a collaborative research project with Dr. Justyna Wolinska (LMU) and PD Dr. Piet Spaak (Eawag) to study the role of variable environments on host–parasite interactions in hybrid systems and on hybridization success per se, using Daphnia (waterfleas), which are a well-established model in both host-parasite and hybridization research. Specifically, we will study changes in parasite prevalence as well as changes in host and parasite population structure, by using collections of zooplankton samples dating back to the beginning of the last century. Then we will relate the observed patterns to experienced changes in environmental conditions (like water temperature or trophy level). Finally, by using the ‘resurrection ecology’ approach (i.e. hatching Daphnia clones of known age from diapausing eggs preserved in lake sediments) we will test for adaptations of old and recent clones to certain environmental conditions.

Both students will use molecular techniques and conduct laboratory experiments. However, the position at LMU focuses on host-parasite interactions. The main methods will be qPCR, cloning, sequencing, microscopy and modeling. The position at Eawag focuses on interspecific hybridization. Here the main methods are: microsatellites, sequencing, experiments and field work.

The ideal candidate should have good molecular skills and/or a strong background in evolutionary biology or population genetics. Excellent communicational and writing skills in English, good work ethics, and creative thinking are desired. A Diploma or Masters degree (or equivalent) in biology or related subject is necessary for admission. The working language in the groups isEnglish.

Scholarship Deadline: 5 August 2011

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