PhD in plant evolution (UK) ~

24 de julio de 2013

PhD in plant evolution (UK)

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow.
Linking the genome to the niche in the mega-diverse genus Begonia
PhD scholarship

Begonias are one of the largest groups of flowering plants in the world,
with nearly 2000 species. They are very successful at colonising deeply
shaded habitats in the tropical forest understory, often growing where
few other plants can survive.  Why are there 2000 species, and how are
they different? Answering this question will give us insights into why
the tropics hold so much of the world's biodiversity. To what extent
do begonias differ in tolerating deep shade, which is a very important
part of their strategy for survival? To answer this we need to compare
the light levels that a number of different species get from dawn to
dusk by measuring it in the forest where they grow. There may be other
important factors in the habitat that may differ from site to site,
such as temperature, humidity and soil characteristics, so we also need
to measure those. From this data we can see how much the conditions
each species grows in differ. What would make each species do better
under different conditions? To answer this we need to look at their
ecophysiology, for example examining photosynthetic efficiency, how the
leaf surface might vary in order to capture light of different intensity
or angle, or how the stomata are arranged and controlled. To complete
the picture of how begonia species differ, we can use our database of
begonia genes to identify genes variable between species, focusing on
those which may be involved in ecophysiological traits. We can sequence
these from the same species we have habitat and ecophysiology data
for to determine if  the sequence variation is linked to adaptation to
particular niches. There is the potential to use interspecific genetics
or transgenics to  further investigate functional links between particular
genes and niche adaptation.

Applicants should be highly motivated with an excellent academic record,
with a first degree in a relevant subject of at least upper second
or equivalent. The project will require competence in molecular lab
skills and the ability to withstand several months over the course of
the project in the field in Indonesia.

The studentship is funded by the M. L. MacIntyre Begonia Trust, and is
open to applicants liable for tuition fees at the Home and EU rate. The
stipend is £13590 per annum. The start date will be in September-October
2013, with a closing date for applications of August 30th 2013. Applicants
should send a cover letter explaining their interest in the project,
and highlight any relevant experience and publications. The successful
applicant will be based at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, with the
degree being awarded by the University of Glasgow. For more information
please contact either Dr Mark Hughes or Dr Catherine Kidner.

Mark Hughes, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (;
0131 2482893)

Catherine Kidner, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (;
0131 2482838)

Rod Page, Glasgow University (; 0141 3304778)

Brennan, A. C., Bridgett, S., Ali, M. S., Harrison, N., Matthews, A.,
Pellicer, J.,  Twyford, A. & Kidner, C. A. (2012). Genomic resources
for evolutionary studies in the large, diverse, tropical genus,
Begonia. Trop. Pl. Biol. 5(4): 261-276.

Canham, C.D., Denslow, J.S., Platt, W.J., Runkle, J.R., Spies, T.A.,
White, P.S. (1990). Light regimes beneath closed canopies and tree-fall
gaps in temperate and tropical forests. Can. J. For. Res. 20: 620-631.

Hughes, M. & Pullan, M. (2007). Southeast Asian Begonia
Database. Electronic publication accessible via

Nevo, R., Charuvi, D., Tsabari, T., Reich, Z. (2012) Composition,
architecture and dynamics of the photosynthetic apparatus in higher
plants. Plant J. 70: 157-176.

Rich, P.M., Clark, D.B., Clark, D.A., Oberbauer, S.F. (1993). Long-term
study of solar radiation regimes in a tropical wet forest using quantum
sensors and hemispherical photography. Ag. Forest. Meteorol. 65: 107-127.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a Charity registered in Scotland
(No SC007983)

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