Two PhD positions – “Evolution and adaptation of biological clocks”

Job ID: 1
Job date: 2016-10-26

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Job Description:

Two PhD positions - "Evolution and adaptation of biological clocks"

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Ploen, Germany

The Max Planck Research Group "Biological Clocks" 
(http://www.evolbio.mpg.de/biologicalclocks) combines evolutionary 
genomics and molecular biology with behavioral experiments and 
ecological fieldwork, aiming to uncover the yet unknown molecular basis 
of circalunar clocks. At the same time, we study the process of 
evolutionary adaptation.
Our model organism, the intertidal midge Clunio marinus (Diptera), has 
timed its life cycle to the rhythm of the tides using circalunar and 
circadian clocks. As the tides differ along the coastline, the clocks of 
Clunio populations are genetically adapted to the local pattern of the 
tides. We have shown that these evolutionary adaptations can be 
exploited for comparative genomic and molecular studies in order to 
identify new clock molecules (Nature, in press).
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Project 1

This project focuses on the analysis of >250 Clunio genomes from several 
strains which differ in various aspects of their circalunar clocks. The 
aim is to identify the genes controlling these differences. As some of 
these strains occur in the same locality, the project also addresses 
evolutionary questions regarding sympatric ecological divergence with 
gene flow and the forces maintaining local adaptation.

The ideal candidate holds an MSc or equivalent in a biological 
discipline with a strong background in genomics or bioinformatics. 
Programming skills are required. Experience in comparative genomics, 
population genomics or quantitative genetics are great assets. The 
student should be communicative and open to collaborate across projects 
in the group. Participation in project-related fieldwork and laboratory 
work is very welcome.
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Project 2

In the Baltic Sea and in Northern Norway Clunio has lost circalunar 
timing. This project will try to identify the genetic variants 
underlying this secondary and possibly convergent loss of circalunar 
clocks. The work will range from fieldwork to establishment and 
experimental characterization of laboratory strains, to genomic 
analyses. An extension to functional molecular analysis is possible.

The ideal candidate holds an MSc or equivalent in a biological 
discipline with a strong background in evolutionary genomics, 
quantitative genetics or (molecular) ecology. Experience with (marine) 
fieldwork, genotyping and genetic mapping are assets. The candidate must 
be well-organized and communicative in order to deal with collaboration 
partners and hosts in Norway, Sweden and Finland. A driving license is 
required, a boat driving license would be a plus.
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Both positions will be offered for 3 years with the possibility of 
extension. Starting date is negotiable between January and July 2017.

Applications should include a cover letter describing your motivation to 
work on the respective project and your relevant experience, a detailed 
CV and copies of relevant certificates, and the contact details of three 
academic referees. Please send the above as a single PDF file to Tobias 
Kaiser (kaiser@evolbio.mpg.de). Review of applications will start on 1st 
December 2016 and will continue until the positions are filled.

The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology 
(http://www.evolbio.mpg.de/2169/en) offers a stimulating and ambitious 
international working environment. Excellent infrastructure is available 
at all levels. The MPI collaborates with the nearby Christian Albrechts 
University of Kiel 
(http://www.mnf.uni-kiel.de/en/einrichtung/sektion-biologie-1) and the 
GEOMAR (Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, http://www.geomar.de/en/) 
in an international PhD program (http://www.evolbio.mpg.de/imprs). The 
town of Ploen is surrounded by lakes and the Baltic Sea is nearby, 
offering plenty of opportunity for leisure and outdoor activities. The 
nearby ports of Kiel and Travemuende provide access to Scandinavia, the 
closest airports are Hamburg and Luebeck.

The Max Planck Society is committed to also employing handicapped 
individuals and encourages them to apply. The Max Planck Society seeks 
to increase the number of women in those areas where they are 
underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

For further information please contact Tobias Kaiser 
(kaiser@evolbio.mpg.de).


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