The Department of Aquatic Ecology (Eawag) and the Department of Biology
(Evolutionary Ecology, LMU) seek
Two PhD students in Evolutionary Biology
Project title: Host-parasite interactions in hybridizing Daphnia, the role
of variable environments
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
Although the students will be primarily hosted at their given institution,
the German student will spend a couple of weeks working in Switzerland and
vice versa. Moreover, the external collaborators on this project are hosted
in Konstanz (DE) and in Sheffield (UK), and students will have the
opportunity to visit these external labs as well. The students will take
part in the organized PhD programs (including attending various skills
courses) of their respective organization.
For this project, financed by the Swiss and German Science Foundations (SNF
& DFG), we are looking for highly motivated candidates with interests in the
evolutionary ecology of host parasite interactions.
We offer a stimulating research environment in lively and social institutes
in Duebendorf (near Zürich) and in Munich. At both localities, the
departments host other research groups in ecology and evolution. The
position will be for a period of three years, and should start as soon as
possible (September 2011 or soon thereafter). The Eawag PhD student will be
enrolled at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich the
German PhD student at LMU. 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 is English.
Applications should include 1) a letter of interest with a description of
pertinent experience (it should be specified which position, LMU or Eawag,
would be the first choice, 2) curriculum vitae, 3) abstract of the
master/diploma thesis, 4) a list of publications (if any), 5) the names
(with e-mail addresses) of three potential referees, and copies of
certificates of academic qualifications.
Applications can only be submitted online through the Eawag website, using
the following link
can be found on the Eawag home page:
Please submit your application by 5 August 2011. For further information,
Justyna Wolinska: email@example.com
or Piet Spaak: firstname.lastname@example.org