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Two PhD scholarships are available in my lab.

1. Molecular systematics of siphonous green algae

You will revise the species-level systematics of the siphonous green algae (orders Bryopsidales and Dasycladales) using a combined molecular and morphological approach. Sanger sequencing and high throughput sequencing will be used to generate multi-gene datasets from which species boundaries are to be inferred. Morphological features that match with the species boundaries will be identified. You will also be involved in resolving the higher-level phylogeny of the siphonous green algae using a phylogenomics approach. The project involves field work, microscopy, DNA sequencing and molecular phylogenetics.

2. Algal evolutionary stoichiogenomics

You will study genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes of algae to investigate their utilization of key elements (e.g. N, S, trace elements). The resulting stoichiometries will be studied in a phylogenetic context to infer the evolutionary dynamics of element utilization. You will interpret the evolutionary patterns in a paleoenvironmental context and test specific hypotheses about the inheritance of elemental stoichiometry during plastid endosymbiosis. The project involves generation of molecular data (if desired) and comparative evolutionary bioinformatics. Computational skills are a key selection criterion for this position.

To be successful you will:

  • satisfy the requirements for a PhD degree at the University of Melbourne (http://goo.gl/VGRgQ)
  • have had exposure to molecular biology and bioinformatics
  • have a strong interest in algal biology and systematics (position 1) or bioinformatics (position 2)
  • evidence strong oral and written communication skills

To find out more about the lab, go to http://www.phycoweb.net

To apply, send your CV, a representative piece of English writing (e.g. MSc thesis), and the names and contact information of two or more references (at least one former supervisor) to heroen.verbruggen@unimelb.edu.au. Please indicate which position you want to be considered for. Informal enquiries are welcome.

Note: The systematics position has been filled. If you’re interested in stoichiogenomics, let me know, that one’s still open.

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A PhD student position is available in the lab of Heroen Verbruggen at the University of Melbourne to work on the evolution of ecological niches of marine algae.

You will study how ecological niches of marine algae change over evolutionary timescales and how the niche affinities of lineages influence their speciation-extinction dynamics. The project involves field work, DNA sequencing, molecular phylogenetics, ecological niche modeling and evolutionary modeling.

To be successful you will:

  • satisfy the requirements for a PhD degree at the University of Melbourne (http://goo.gl/VGRgQ)
  • have experience in generating and managing DNA sequences
  • have a strong interest in evolutionary biology and mathematical modeling
  • evidence strong oral and written communication skills

To find out more, follow these links:

To apply, send your CV, a representative piece of English writing (e.g. MSc thesis), and the names and contact information of two or more references (at least one previous supervisor) to heroen.verbruggen@unimelb.edu.au. Informal enquiries are welcome.

This position is now filled.

I’ve just started my new job at the University of Melbourne, in the School of Botany and thought that was enough of a reason to start a new blog.

I’m on a fellowship funded by the Australian Research Council and during the coming four years, I will be studying the evolutionary dynamics of algae. The project aims to characterize how ecological niches evolve and document how trace metal utilization changes over time and across the algal tree of life. If you’d like to read more about the project, have a look at the project page on the lab’s web site.

The purpose of this blog is to keep a record of ideas and activities as I’m making progress with this project. I look forward to receiving your reactions, especially if they can steer me in the right direction or just keep me sane while I tackle the challenges ahead of me.