PhD on parasites in the Seychelles warbler ~

25 de mayo de 2004

PhD on parasites in the Seychelles warbler

Gastrointestinal parasites, MHC genes and fitness in a
wild avian population

Within vertebrates, the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes within an individual determine how well it copes with the array of parasites it encounters in its environment. An individuals' fitness (survival and reproductive success) will therefore, at least in part, depend upon the MHC genes it contains. Gastrointestinal parasites (GI) occur worldwide and can be extremely detrimental to the fitness of individuals. Few studies have assessed the impact of GI parasites from an evolutionary perspective, and even fewer have taken into account the affect of the MHC. None have done so using birds. This project will investigate the affect of GI parasites and their interaction with the MHC in the simple and isolated system provided by the Cousin Island population of Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis). PCR-based molecular protocols will be used to screen MHC, while microscopic investigation of eggs within faecal samples will provide a non-invasive method for determining the intensity of GI parasites within individuals. Fieldwork to continue the population monitoring and the collection of samples and fitness data will be done in conjunction with the Seychelles warbler research project team. The results will contribute towards determining the importance of MHC variation and parasite-mediated selection in wild animal populations.

Dr David S. Richardson and Prof. Jan Komdeur: Jointly funded
by UEA and JK (University of Groningen, Holland) for three years starting January 2005.

Further details

We are looking for an enthusiastic, dedicated and resilient student with an interest in evolutionary and molecular ecology. The student will spend a large part of their time in the laboratory, isolating parasite eggs from faeces, extracting DNA and using basic molecular techniques such as PCR and DGGE. Therefore, although not essential, molecular lab experience will be an advantage, as will good organisational skills. Fieldwork will be for 2-3 months per year and, as the field site is small and isolated, the student must be able to work well independently, or within a small group. The studentship will be based at UEA with D. S. Richardson, but will visit Groningen each year.

This PhD is being re-advertised as the start date has now been delayed until January 2005. Previous applicants do not need to reapply. Although there is no official deadline please apply ASAP. We expect to interview candidates in early September

Please send the completed UEA application form, two
references (completed reference forms) ASAP. Both forms and application details are available at

When complete, please sign, date and return the form with
all the necessary documentation to:

Graduate Studies Office

Science Group

University of East Anglia

phone +44 (0)1603 593002

Fax (0)1603 593045


Norwich NR4 7TJ UK

Web site

For informal enquiries contact

Dr. David S. Richardson

Telephone 01603 591496


FAX 01603 592250

Dr. David S. Richardson
School of Biological Sciences,
University of East Anglia,
Norwich NR4 7TJ

Telephone 01603 591496
FAX 01603 592250

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