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Subject:

[PG] PhD positions on fish evolution

From:

Chris Harrod <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 9 Dec 2013 13:43:52 +0000

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PhD position on Colonizations and Demographic History of Cichlid Fishes in Crater Lakes in Nicaragua

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Organismal Biology<http://www.orn.mpg.de/IMPRS> is jointly organized by the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen and Radolfzell and the University of Konstanz. More than 25 internationally recognized research groups actively participate in the PhD program and offer challenging, cutting-edge PhD projects in the fields of Behavioral Biology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Physiology, and Neurobiology.

Project description

There are several crater lakes in Nicaragua that each houses a small adaptive radiation of up to six endemic species of Midas cichlid fishes (see, e.g., Barluenga et al. 2006 Nature, Elmer et al 2012 Evolution). These crater lakes are completely isolated, there are no rivers that connect them or that flow out of these lakes. These species flocks have become text book examples for extremely fast sympatric speciation and the repeated evolution of similar phenotypes (reviewed in Elmer and Meyer 2011). Many, but possibly not all, of these radiations can be traced back to a single colonization event from which all fish in these crater lakes (some of them are less than 2000 years old and some as old as 20,000 years) are descended.

It is not clear how these fish colonized the crater lakes - if they were brought there by birds, humans or through cataclysmic events such as so-called "fish rains". To be able to better understand the patters and processes of speciation and the formation of the crater lake ecosystems it would be important to find out how many, when and how all fishes, not only Midas cichlids, but also other cichlids and other families of fishes entered theses lakes. We are looking for a student (who ideally speaks Spanish and likes field work as much as populations genomics) who would like to tackle this problem by sampling all kinds of organisms from the crater lakes of Nicaragua, who collects genome wide data (using Illumina RADseq analyses) to collect SNP data for population genomics analysis. Based on these kinds of data, combined with simulation analyses and coalescence analysis we hope to reconstruct the demographic and phylogenetic history of species living in these crater lakes.

Main advisor Axel Meyer<http://www.evolutionsbiologie.uni-konstanz.de/?section=25>, University of Konstanz


PhD position on Genomic Basis of Alternative Life-History Evolution in Swordtail Fishes

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Organismal Biology<http://www.orn.mpg.de/IMPRS> is jointly organized by the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen and Radolfzell and the University of Konstanz. More than 25 internationally recognized research groups actively participate in the PhD program and offer challenging, cutting-edge PhD projects in the fields of Behavioral Biology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Physiology, and Neurobiology.

Project description

In some species of live-bearing fish of the genus Xiphophorus males become sexually mature at different sizes. These size differences result in differences in mating strategies that these males deploy. Females tend to prefer to mate with larger males, and larger males court females. But smaller males persist in the populations although they are at a disadvantage compared to larger males and small males sneak copulations by coercing females to mate without courtship.

We are interested to better understand the genomic basis of the differences in the onset of sexual maturity in these species. The research would involve QTL analyses and comparative transcriptomic work combined with behavioral and field work in Central America.

Main advisor Axel Meyer<http://www.evolutionsbiologie.uni-konstanz.de/?section=25>, University of Konstanz

Our offer

All students accepted to the program will be supported by stipends or contracts. Besides their own research, the IMPRS fellows attend laboratory courses and workshops in relevant transferable skills like scientific writing and project management. Talks by invited speakers during our annual IMPRS symposium, student retreats, and conference participation complete the individually tailored curriculum. The working language is English. Each PhD student receives individual supervision and mentoring and is guided in her/his research work by a PhD advisory committee.

Your application

Outstanding students of all nationalities with a deep commitment to basic research in Organismal Biology are invited to apply. Deadline for the application is January 15, 2014. Interviews with the applicants are scheduled for Mid-March. Candidates accepted into the program may start latest September 2014. The Max Planck Society and the University of Konstanz are equal opportunity employers.

Qualification: Applicants should hold a MSc or equivalent degree in biology or a related discipline at the point of enrollment.

Queries should be mailed to the program office: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

Application : For the online application process visit www.orn.mpg.de/2383/Application<http://www.orn.mpg.de/2383/Application>.

More information on the current PhD projects at http://www.orn.mpg.de/projects and www.facebook.com/OrganismalBiology<http://www.facebook.com/OrganismalBiology>.

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