Postdoc: Evolution of salamanders (Germany) ~

13 de mayo de 2013

Postdoc: Evolution of salamanders (Germany)

University of Bielefeld, Department of Animal Behaviour, Unit Molecular
Ecology and Behaviour, Germany

Application deadline: June 7th 2013

We are looking for a highly motivated postdoc to join our research team,
to study mechanisms and processes of parallel habitat adaptation in the
fire salamander. The research will be carried out in the framework of the
German-Israeli Project Cooperation (DIP) financed by the German Research
Foundation (DFG) ¨Ecological genomics: analysis of gene expression
underlying parallel habitat adaptation in distinct salamander species〃.

Although a lot of data on the consequences of habitat adaptation at
the phenotypic and population structure levels are available, we are
currently missing deeper insights into the genetic architecture of
habitat-dependent adaptation. The study of parallel adaptive evolution
is very promising to identify genes and underlying genetic mechanisms
of how individuals can adapt to different environmental conditions. Due
to their fascinating breadth of habitat-specific adaptations as well
to aquatic and terrestrial habitats, amphibians provide ideal systems
to study the impact of ecological adaptation on the genome level under
natural conditions. In the past, we have intensively studied the ecology
and population genetics of two distinct species of fire salamanders 
Salamandra salamandra in Germany and Salamandra infraimmaculata in Israel,
with a special focus on how larvae can adapt to the different conditions
experienced until metamorphosis in contrasting habitats such as streams
and ponds. This international cooperative research program is aimed
to extend and to combine the ecological-genetic framework of parallel
habitat adaptation in the fire salamander exemplified for two distinct
species to the level of the transcriptome and gene expression analysis. By
characterizing the ecological conditions of parallel habitat adaptation in
these two species and by simultaneously screening a large number of genes
for patterns of evolutionary divergence, we aim to link the ecology of
habitat adaptation and gene expression patterns to a very detailed extent.

The postdoc candidate will join an international team of leading
scientists in the field of Ecology (Prof. Dr. Leon Blaustein, University
of Haifa), Molecular Ecology (Dr. Sebastian Steinfartz, University of
Bielefeld), Evolutionary Genomics (Dr. Arne Nolte, Max-Planck Institute
of Evolutionary Biology), Evolution and Bioinformatics (Prof. Dr. Alan
Templeton, University of Haifa) and River Ecology (Prof. Dr. Markus
Weitere, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ). Moreover
she/he will strongly interact with two other postdoc researchers, one in
genomics and one in bioinformatics, as well as with involved PhD students
based in Germany and in Israel. The candidate is expected to perform
intensive first hand ecological characterizations of larval habitat
structure (e.g. niche modelling) and habitat analysis by performing
stable isotope analysis to infer food web structure for larval habitats in
Germany and in Israel. These analyses will be crucial to understand and
interpret observed gene expression patterns of larvae from these habitat
types and to be able to connect gene expression data with the observed
ecology of the larvae. The successful candidate is furthermore expected
to work closely together with the ecologically oriented PhD student in
the project. The PhD student will mainly focus on the impact of certain
habitat specific selection pressures (e.g. desiccation risk, flush floods,
predators, etc.) on the larvae and how these impact gene expression.

We expect applications from highly motivated and qualified young
scientists holding a PhD, preferably with a postdoc experience, but
most importantly with a strong research background and interest in
ecology and evolution of organisms and experience with genetic/genomic
methods. Experience with amphibians would be desirable, but is not
mandatory. The candidate is supposed to be based in Germany. However, as
this project involves intensive fieldwork also in Israel, the candidate
should be highly flexible and willing to live for some months also
abroad. The position will come with a full TV-L E13 salary with a gross
income around 59,000 a/year. The position is initially scheduled for
two years with the option for a prolongation of one year.

Please send your application until June 7th, including a curriculum
vitae, copies of academic certifications including PhD certification,
PhD thesis, a letter of motivation why you are interested in the project
and addresses (e-mail addresses and telephone numbers) of two referees
as a merged PDF to:

Dr. Sebastian Steinfartz
Assistant Professor in Molecular Ecology and Behaviour
Department of Animal Behaviour
University of Bielefeld
Telephone: +49 521 106 2653

We expect to contact/interview candidates starting from the middle of June on.

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