Postdoc estudiando cómo la endogamia a influenciado la evolución del cráneo del bisonte europeo 🦬 ~

12 de agosto de 2023

Postdoc estudiando cómo la endogamia a influenciado la evolución del cráneo del bisonte europeo 🦬

Oferta compartida por Nuria

An evolutionary biologist is required for a Post-doc position within a grant ‘Historical morphometrics of the European bison skulls and its association with species inbreeding increase’. The project will be realized at the Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland.

Summary and objectives of the project

European bison is a species of unique demographic history. It has been through an extremely severe bottleneck in the 1920s. The whole contemporary population originates from a meager group of founders. Just two of them turned out to be predominant, and their share in the contemporary gene pool is above 80%. The effects are extremely low genetic variation (Wójcik et al., 2009; Tokarska et al., 2009; Tokarska et al., 2011) and highly increased inbreeding level, reaching 75% (Pertoldi et al., unpublished). Although increased inbreeding is regarded as an important factor affecting the viability of a population, resulting in lowered genetic differentiation and decreased fitness, its impact on the European bison seems milder than might be expected. Long term fertility coefficients are stable and satisfactory (Krasińska i Krasiński, 2017) and no indisputable inbreeding depression symptoms are observed (Tokarska et al., 2011). The reported potential inbreeding depression symptoms are related to skeleton conformation. Baranov et al. (1997) reported signs of developmental instability of skull morphology in the European bison skulls and indicated developmental instability as essential for characterizing the condition of the population. Analyses of fluctuating symmetry of the European bison,
associated with genetic diversity (Makowiecka, 1994) suggest that the Białowieża line of the European bison had the lowest, unbeneficial, developmental instability as the result of inbreeding. Until recently,
the only method of estimating inbreeding level was pedigree analysis – a rough and inaccurate method. The development of genomic techniques enables precise calculation of inbreeding level using high density SNP(single nucleotide polymorphism) set. This method has been successfully used in the European bison studies and allowed for the first, accurate inbreeding calculations, using ROH (Runs of Homozygosity) analyses (Iacolina et al., 2016, Pertoldi et al., unpublished) This project enables the actual effect of extreme inbreeding on skull conformation in a historical context to be estimated, by association of genomic and morphometric data in one of the most inbred mammals known – the European bison. We will use hundreds of 3D skull scans from European collections and museums and juxtaposition them with their inbreeding level information based on SNP markers. The objective of the project is to specify whether and in what extent inbreeding level shaped the skull conformation of European bison individuals by answering three questions: Has the morphometry of the skull fluctuated over time? Has the growing inbreeding of the European bison influenced its skull morphometry? If yes,
what morphometric skull features have been affected by growing inbreeding? 

The working environment 
Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences (MRIPAS) in Białowieża, funded in 1952, conducts research in the field of ecology, ethology, morphology, population genetics as well as population management and conservation of mammals and other terrestrial vertebrates. The mission of the Institute is to acquire, advance, and disseminate knowledge of natural patterns and processes in
order to improve the scientific basis for effective nature conservation activities and sustainable development. We focus mainly on Białowieża Primeval Forest (UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site) as a study area, but also on other regions of Poland and Europe. The Institute employs 60 people, including researchers, PhD students, and qualified technical and office staff.

We provide
  1. 4-years contract;
  2. Work in a friendly research team, in a well-equipped and organized laboratory with support and supervision of competent colleagues;
  3. The possibility of effective scientific development through cooperation with the best world research centres;
  4. Participation in an interesting scientific project with travelling opportunities;
  5. The possibility to apply for inexpensive accommodation in MRI PAS flats.
Post-doc tasks and duties within the project
  1. Writing scientific papers and participating in relevant conferences and workshops.
  2. Supervising PhD students.
  3. Performing genome-wide association analysis based on the genomic data and morphometrical measurements on European bison skulls, preferably using GoldenHelix or Plink softwares.
  4. Visualisation of the data, presenting results and preparing manuscripts.
  1. PhD in bioinformatics or genomics.
  2. Experience in bioinformatic research, experience in Plink or GoldenHelix applications.
  3. Team cooperation skills.
  4. Fluent spoken and written English.
  5. Fun and excitement from performing science and presenting the results highly welcome.

Required documents:
  1. CV and motivation letter.
  2. Copy of PhD diploma.
  3. Full-text version (pdf/word file) of your PhD thesis.
  4. Information on the candidate’s scientific experience (specialization, research techniques, and achievements (including list of publications and reports) (max. 500 words).
  5. An opinion from the academic tutor or/and previous scientific employer.
  6. Declaration of consent for processing of personal data (to be requested to; only first signed page should be scanned and delivered through e-mail).
Conditions of employment
Post-doc salary of 6200.00 złotych netto / month = approx. 1300 Euro netto. This is the highest allowed salary for PhD in the NCN project. As living in Poland is cheaper that in Western Europe, this ensures quite satisfactory standard of living.
Project will last 4 years, starting summer 2023 and finish summer 2027. Position is full time, but can be realized partly remote.
The recruitment rules will follow NCN regulations. The selection will be based on the qualifications of the candidates including scientific achievements, experience, awards, internships, skills and competences. An interview will be part of the selection of candidates. Recruitment is a two-stage process and includes: 1) evaluation of candidates’ documentation and 2) an interview with selected candidates (you will be asked to shortly present your PhD thesis).

Applications should be sent directly to Małgorzata Tokarska by letter or electronically by 31st August 2023. The selected candidates will be invited to an online or stationary interview and the decision will be announced by 10th September 2023.

For any information contact:
Małgorzata Tokarska PhD – project leader
Mammal Research Institute Polish Academy of Sciences
ul. Stoczek 1, 17-230 Białowieża, Poland
phone +48 85682 77 61

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