Genomic signatures of adaptation in an island bird =96 CASE studentship with IPNA-CSIC (Tenerife)

Job ID: 2
Job date: 2016-10-26

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Job Description:

Genomic signatures of adaptation in an island bird =96 CASE studentship
with IPNA-CSIC (Tenerife)

Interested applicants are ancouraged to contact the main supervisor,
Dr Lewis Spurgin: l.spurgin@uea.ac.uk

Aim

To use cutting edge genomic tools in combination with ecological fieldwork
to enhance understanding of evolutionary adaptation in wild animals.

Background

Genomic tools are revolutionizing our understanding of Darwinian natural
selection. Using genomic data, it is now possible to not only identify
the genes under natural selection, but also their function and the
ecological factors that drive selection.

Some of the best examples of natural selection come from island bird
species. Moreover, many island birds are becoming endangered due to
habitat degradation and climate change, so understanding their ecology
and evolution is of paramount conservation concern.

Methods

The student will carry out population sampling, ecological surveying and
analysis of genomic data from 13 Island populations of Berthelot=92s
pipit.  Our previous work has shown that these populations differ
markedly in their ecology (particularly in parasites and altitude),
and that natural selection and =93chance=94 interact to shape patterns
of genetic variation. We have recently generated sequence data from
~300 key functional genes and ~2000 non-coding regions (using sequence
capture and RAD-seq, respectively) from the populations. The student
will use this data to identify:

Which genes are under natural selection among island populations?  What
are the biological processes under natural selection?  How do parasites
and altitude drive natural selection?  Research Environment and Training

This project will be supervised by Dr Lewis Spurgin and Prof David
Richardson at the University of East Anglia, and Dr Brent Emerson at
IPNA-CSIC. The student will form part of an inclusive and dynamic research
community at UEA. IPNA-CSIC is a successful research institute in Tenerife
and a case partner to the project. The student will spend at least 3
months at IPNA-CSIC, directly interacting with Canarian researchers.

The student will receive training in ecological fieldwork, molecular
genetics, bioinformatics and advanced data analysis. They will also
receive wide-ranging training from NERC and UEA to increase scientific
skills and enhance employability.

Person specification

1.Degree in biology, zoology or related subject 2.Field work and
analytical skills desired (but training will be given) 3.Willingness to
learn programming languages Funding

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the EnvEast NERC Doctoral
Training Partnership, comprising the Universities of East Anglia, Essex
and Kent, with twenty other research partners.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 14/15 February 2017.

Successful candidates who meet RCUK=92s eligibility criteria will be
awarded a NERC studentship. In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have
been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a full award. In
2016/17, the stipend was =A314,296.

For further information, please visit www.enveast.ac.uk/apply.

-- Dr Lewis Spurgin BBSRC Future Leader Fellow School of Biological
Sciences University of East Anglia Norwich Research Park NR4 7TJ, UK

Email: l.spurgin@uea.ac.uk Web: lewisspurgin.wordpress.com

L.Spurgin@uea.ac.uk


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