Project description: The selected Ph.D. students will work with Dr. Colin Hughes http://www.systbot.uzh.ch/Personen/ProfessorenundDozenten/ColinHughes.html on a research project entitled “The Biogeography and Evolutionary Dynamics of Legume Diversification”, funded by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) in the Institute of Systematic Botany at the University of Zürich. http://www.systbot.uzh.ch/index=5Fen.html
The uneven distribution of species richness across evolutionary lineages is one of the most pervasive and fundamental features of biodiversity across all organismal groups. The reasons why some lineages diversify and others do not, why some clades are species-rich and others are not, and the underlying factors determining these differences, are crucial to understanding how diversity evolves. One approach to address these questions involves estimating rates of species diversification, assessing among-lineage variation in diversification rates, localising rate shifts to particular branches on phylogenetic trees, and examining potential ecological, geographical and adaptive life history correlates of diversification.
The Biogeography and Evolutionary Dynamics of Legume Diversification Project aims to address these questions using one of the largest and most evolutionarily successful families of flowering plants, the legumes. New empirical data for two contrasting legume lineages, the genus Lupinus and the subfamily Mimosoideae, will be used to gain insights into diversification patterns across broad geographical and ecological spans, and time frames. Key gaps in documentation of taxonomic diversity in each group will be plugged to determine the species richness of clades. Both study groups include multiple continental-scale radiations offering novel opportunities to compare the diversification trajectories of multiple lineages simultaneously across time and space. Research will involve field, herbarium collections based, and laboratory work to assemble relevant data, as well as large-scale phylogenetic and diversification analyses.
Position characteristics: The Institute of Systematic Botany in Zurich offers excellent research facilities and a stimulating working environment for graduate students in systematic botany. The project will also involve collaboration with leading researchers in legume systematics elsewhere. Salary is according to the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) guidelines. Funding, including for laboratory and field costs, is available for 3 years.
Requirements: Applicants should hold a Masters degree, ideally in taxonomy and biodiversity or related biological disciplines. Experience in molecular techniques, phylogenetic analysis, and fieldwork are highly desirable. Excellent knowledge of English, written and oral, is essential.
How to apply: Send the following documents by email AS A SINGLE PDF FILE to Dr. Colin Hughes, firstname.lastname@example.org: i) a two-page application letter describing your research interests, clearly stating why are you interested in a Ph.D. position in systematic botany, and your career goals; ii) your CV, including a list of publications (if applicable); iii) a copy of your undergraduate and graduate academic record; iv) names and contact details of at least two referees selected from your academic advisors (and who have agreed to be contacted).
Deadline for application: Applications will be screened from June 10th, 2011 onwards until the positions are filled.
Starting date: September/October 2011.