PhD student position

PhD student position in Plant Phylogenetic Community Ecology at Memorial University of Newfoundland-Canada


I am seeking a motivated PhD student to start a project on the Flora of Newfoundland: a molecular DNA approach. This project seeks to understand the phylogenetic diversity of the flora of Newfoundland, and the phylogenetic community structure of different habitats, ecoregions, or geological formations (e.g. African versus North American plates) of the island. Knowledge of how phylogenetically diverse the flora is in different areas will inform conservation actions in the province. The role of plant traits on the historical assembly of these communities could also be addressed, and other hypotheses of the student’s interest. The PhD student will work under the mentorship of Dr. Julissa Roncal, and will interact with other graduate and undergraduate students in the team, as well as with the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Center in Corner Brook (member of NatureServe).

Student's responsibilities:
• Fieldwork in Newfoundland to collect missing vascular plant genera (ca. 30). Laboratory work include DNA extraction, PCR, and DNA sequencing (Sanger)
• Reconstruction of a community phylogenetic tree for all vascular plant genera (ca. 500) using different algorithms
• Utilize phylogenetic comparative methods to address hypotheses on phylogenetic diversity, community structure and trait evolution

Student's qualifications:
• A MSc degree in a related discipline (e.g. biology, botany, ecology, molecular biology, bioinformatics)
• Experience in organismic botany, DNA laboratory work, phylogenetics, and GIS is highly desirable.
• Excellent analytical, organization and communication skills. Attention to detail.
• Written and oral proficiency in English is mandatory for international students. TOEFL test required for admission to the university, but not the GRE tests.

Position characteristics:
Project start date is September 1, 2016. The PhD program comprises four years with an annual stipend of $19,000. The student is expected to teach on average 10 hr/wk during the fall and winter semesters but not in the spring. The department of Biology at Memorial University has 29 faculty members and over 100 graduate students. Memorial University is Atlantic Canada’s largest university offering a multicultural environment. Screening will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

How to apply:
Interested applicants should send their CV, a one-page statement of research interests and career goals, transcripts, and contact information of 3 references (who have agreed to be contacted) in a single pdf or word file to Dr. Julissa Roncal at Email: jroncal@mun.ca.

For instructions on how to apply to Memorial’s graduate program visit: http://www.mun.ca/become/graduate/apply/index.php

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