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Name of scholarship/program

PhD studentship on the population genomics of commercially important European shellfish

Important description
A fully funded position is available for a highly motivated Early Stage Researcher (ESR) who will be registered for a PhD in the Hoffman lab at Bielefeld University. This position forms part of a Marie Curie Initial Training Network and offers a generous stipend of at least €3700 per month, which includes a dedicated mobility allowance. The studentship will provide training in cutting-edge population genomic approaches and offers excellent opportunities for networking plus individually tailored training and industrial placements. The student should therefore be in a strong position after their PhD to pursue a career in either academia or industry.

There is mounting concern over the acidification of the World’s oceans. In the 250 years since the onset of the industrial revolution, atmospheric CO2 levels have risen from 280 to 381 parts per million and average ocean pH has fallen from 8.16 to 8.05. Human-driven emissions of CO2 continue to rise and have begun to outstrip even the most pessimistic of IPCC model scenarios. How will life in the oceans adapt to this changing environment? Particular concern has been expressed over organisms with heavily calcified shells such as molluscs, as their ability to extract carbonate ions from seawater and incorporate these into their skeletons may be increasingly compromised.

This position forms part of a Marie Curie Initial Training Network entitled CACHE: Calcium in a Changing Environment, funded by the EU (ref: 605051) and co-ordinated by the British Antarctic Survey. The aim of this network is to take a coordinated multidisciplinary approach to understanding calcium regulation and shell production in four commercially important shellfish species, the king scallop (Pecten maximus), the Pacific oyster, (Crassostrea gigas), the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) and the soft shell clam (Mya arenaria). The network comprises 10 partners from 6 European countries, including research institutes, universities and SMEs. As a member of the network, the student will be expected to work cooperatively within the network, participate in European training events and spend up to 30% of their training with another network partner. Full details of the network can be found at www.cache-ITN.eu.

The PhD student will carry out population genomic surveys to (i) conduct a comparative analysis of the population structure of the four shellfish species along a European latitudinal cline; (ii) explore how oceanographic barriers and life-history interact to shape population structure; (iii) determine the relative contributions of genotype and phenotypic plasticity to shell morphology and ultrastructure; (iv) test for signatures of selection at candidate genes involved in calcium regulation and deposition.

Eligibility and other criteria

Application deadline
* February 28, 2014

Additional information, and important URL

We seek a bright and highly motivated candidate who ideally holds an M.Sc. or equivalent in a relevant topic (e.g. population, evolutionary or conservation genetics, bioinformatics). The student will be responsible for developing a bioinformatic pipeline to analyse Illumina Restriction Site Associated DNA (RAD) sequence data. Experience of installing and working with Linux systems, analysing high-throughput sequence data and writing custom scripts is therefore highly desirable, although training can be provided. The ideal candidate will also be able to work both independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team. A high standard of spoken and written English is required.

The student will be based at the Department of Animal Behaviour at Bielefeld University (www.uni-bielefeld.de/biologie/vhf/index.html). The department is the oldest of its kind in Germany and currently hosts six principal investigators, seven postdocs and over twenty PhD students. It offers a stimulating international environment and an excellent research infrastructure including brand new molecular laboratories. The working language of the Department is English.

To apply for the position, please provide: (i) a letter of motivation including a maximum 2-page statement of your research interests, relevant skills and experience; (ii) a CV including publication list; (iii) names and contact details of three referees willing to write confidential letters of recommendation; (iv) for monitoring purposes only, please clearly state your nationality, sex, and where you saw the advert. All materials should be emailed as a single PDF file to: joseph.hoffman@uni-bielefeld.de with 'CACHE PhD application' in the subject line.

The application deadline is February 28th 2014. Interviews will take place shortly afterwards. The preferred start date is flexible and will depend on the timeframe of the most qualified applicant. For further information, please see http://www.uni-bielefeld.de/biologie/vhf/JH or contact Joe Hoffman via email (joseph.hoffman@uni-bielefeld.de) with any informal inquiries.

The applicant must be in the first four years (full time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have a doctoral degree. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate.
At the time of recruitment, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies etc) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date.
The candidates can be from any nationality

http://www.uni-bielefeld.de/biologie/vhf/JH www.uni-bielefeld.de/biologie/vhf/index.html

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