Postdoctoral Position on local adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, and gene expression (Israel -Germany) ~

31 de enero de 2014

Postdoctoral Position on local adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, and gene expression (Israel -Germany)

We invite candidates to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship on local adaptation, phenotypic plasticity and gene expression on two closely related species of fire salamanders –Salamandra infraimmaculata in Israel and Salamandra salamandra in Germany (see abstract below).  This is a joint project funded by DIP (German-Israeli Project) in collaboration with Leon Blaustein (University of Haifa, Israel), Alan R. Templeton (University of Haifa, Israel), Sebastian Steinfartz (Technical University of Braunschweig), and Arne Nolte (Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plon).  The title and abstract of the grant that funds this project is pasted below.  The successful candidate will be responsible largely for designing and conducting the ecological experiments and aiding in the analysis of gene expression patterns.  The work is to conduct research in Israel, and the opportunity exists to spend 1-2 months per year in Germany to conduct ecological field experiments and lab work on gene expression.  Interested candidates should send (1) a letter explaining research interests and how their background fits to this study, (2) their cv and (3) arrange 2-3 letters of recommendation to both and

Ecological genomics: Analysis of gene expression underlying parallel habitat adaptation in distinct salamander species

In a continuously changing world, adaptation to new or altering environmental conditions is one of the most elementary and important biological processes. Although we have much data on the consequences of habitat adaptation at the phenotypic and population structure levels, we are currently missing, with a few exceptions, deeper insights into the genetic architecture of habitat-dependent adaptation. The study of parallel adaptive evolution can illuminate underlying processes and mechanisms. Unlike any other vertebrate group, amphibian species can show a fascinating breadth of habitat-specific adaptations to aquatic and terrestrial habitats. The research teams of this proposal have studied parallel ecological adaptation to larval reproductive habitats in two distinct species of fire salamanders – Salamandra salamandra in Germany and Salamandra infraimmaculata in Israel. By integrating a strong ecological context with genomic approaches, this research proposal aims at extending the ecological-genetic framework of parallel habitat adaptation to the level of the transcriptome in order to simultaneously screen a large number of genes for patterns of evolutionary divergence. We will design species-specific oligonucleotide microarrays based on EST sequences of the larval transcriptomes for each species. These microarrays can then be used to analyze gene expression patterns under fully natural conditions and in experimental setups, whereby analyses are inspired by field studies that analyze the ecology of salamander larvae. As salamander larvae are accessible in large numbers and can be easily manipulated in common environment experiments, this study system is suited to explore gene-expression responses to habitat-specific cues or selection pressures in dedicated experiments reflecting distinct larval habitat types and ecological parameters. The resulting data will reveal whether plastic phenotypes contribute to adaptive phenotypic change and whether they are enhanced by the emergence of genetically fixed traits. In addition to traditional computational methods, we shall use a newly developed individual-centered approach, using a new vector-correlation measure to identify genes that are co-expressed in individuals as opposed to differential expression of genes across populations.

Leon Blaustein

Director, Kadas Green Roofs Ecology Center
Head, Community Ecology Laboratory
Institute of Evolution and Department of Evolutionary & Environmental Biology
Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Haifa
199 Abba Hushi Rd, Haifa, 3498838, Israel
Tel. 972-4-8240736 (office); 972-4-9998881 (home)
Cell: 054-268-8290; Institute Fax:  972-4-8246554

Chief Editor, Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution

"He [Rabin] knew that those who starve peace, feed extremism."
-Shimon Peres speaking at Rabin commemoration 7 Nov 09

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