The Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) in Munich is among the top one
hundred universities in the world, and part of the German Excellence
Initiative. The Department of Biology (Evolutionary Ecology) seeks
A PhD students in Evolutionary Ecology
Project title: The role of hybridization in the colonization of newly opened habitats
The PhD students will participate in a collaborative research project of Justyna Wolinska to investigate hybridization between species as a creative evolutionary force that allows rapid adaptation to new environments. This project is a part of a large research initiative funded by the German Science Foundation: “Natural Selection in Structured Populations”. The overarching goal of this Research Unit is the study of natural selection in realistic population settings. Because of its role as a driving force of adaptation, understanding natural selection is undoubtedly one of the most important objectives of evolutionary biology.
Specifically, the student will study how hybrid-specific traits may
facilitate the colonization of novel habitats (small quarry lakes), using
the *Daphnia* hybrid complex as a model system. *Daphnia* communities will
be screened at the microsatellite loci and three contrasting scenarios of
hybrid maintenance will be tested: survival of hybrids as clonal lineages,
recurrent hybridization events or establishment of hybrids through migrants.
In addition, using laboratory experiments it will be tested if hybrids have
more diverse phenotypes compared to parental taxa (due to increased genetic
variation in hybrid individuals). Finally, the field and laboratory data
will be used for parameterization of a mathematical model, which will be
developed to study the contribution of different ecological parameters to
the success of hybrids. The proposed combination of empirical and
theoretical approaches will advance our understanding of the role of
hybridization in the colonization of new habitats and, more generally, of
genetic exchange in adaptive evolution.
The main methods are: microsatellites, experiments, some mathematical modelling (in collaboration with Joachim Hermisson, University of Vienna) and a little bit of field work.
We are looking for highly motivated candidates with interests in the
evolutionary ecology and population genetics. The position will be for a
period of three years, and should start as soon as possible (December 2011
or soon thereafter). The students will take part in the organized
PhDprogram (including attending various skills courses) of the
university. The ideal candidate should have a strong background in evolutionary biology
and/or population genetics. Good molecular skills, excellent communication
and writing skills in English, good work ethics, and creative thinking are
desired. Skills in mathematical modelling will be advantageous. A Diploma or
Masters degree (or equivalent) in biology is necessary for admission. The
working language in the group is English.
Applications should include 1) a letter of interest with a description of
pertinent experience, 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. Applications should be submitted as
a SINGLE (!) PDF document to the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please submit your application by 13 October 2011.
For further information, consult
Justyna Wolinska: email@example.com