4 year postdoc – fur seal genomics, including fieldwork in the Antarctic

Position is with Joe Hoffman (Bielefeld University, Germany).
Details here: fur seal advertisment
Note the deadline is early January.


Vote for the catshark

I need your vote! I am championing the catshark in the 25 genomes competition. You can help sequence the genome of this important species and all it will cost you is a click! Please vote and share:



Population Genomics Workshop

A few of us from the mol ecol lab will run the Population Genomics Workshop in Sheffield again in January. More details including how to apply are on the webpage:


Sheffield R workshops

There are a couple of R workshops being run by the Sheffield Bioinformatics Core over the coming weeks. Details:

1. Intro to R
The Sheffield Bioinformatics Core is a new Core Facility at The University of Sheffield providing an analysis and consulting service to all departments and will also offer a program of training courses

The first of these courses will take place on Thursday 7th December  when we will introduce the R programming language and it’s application to biological data via the Bioconductor project. No previous experience with R is require to attend this course and it is open to all staff and students.
To book your place, please go to:-

2. Intermediate R course

On Friday 15 December we will be holding a one-day workshop on Data Manipulation and Visualisation in R.

This workshop will introduce some new additions to the R statistical language that ease the crucial process of manipulating and preparing data for analysis. We will also introduce the popular ggplot2 package for producing publication-quality graphics.

The workshop is being hosted by the Sheffield Bioinformatics Core, a new Core Facility at the University of Sheffield. However, no biological knowledge will be assumed and the materials should be accessible to all with some basic familiarity with R.

There is a small fee of £60 for attending the course. Please use this link to sign-up


PhD opportunity in Edinburgh

Phd with Craig Walling (Edinburgh) on the red deer population on Rum.

Details are here: Walling_PhDAdvert_ForEmail

Postdoc in Helsinki

I am looking for a post doc or a bioinformatician for a fixed term of 2 years to join my group. Successful candidate will work on genomic data (3 reference genomes and 60 re-sequenced genomes) on Formica rufa group ants to understand patterns of speciation and hybridization. Previous experience in analyzing next generation sequencing data is required.

See the add here:


And more about us here:


clearout of B71 office – rackets

badminton, squash and tennis rackets and tennis balls – all good working order.

Will be donated to charity shops tomorrow.

2 PhD positions available

If you’re interested, please send which position you are interested in, your CV, a short letter of motivation, and e-mail addresses of two academic referees, to Julia.schroeder@imperial.ac.uk before 30 December 2017.


Exciting opportunity to get top-notch quantitative analytical skills. In collaboration with Dr Danica Greetham from Reading University, and Terry Burke from UoS, we offer a PhD postion on linking infidelity with social networks in birds! Apply if you like stats and birds! Deadline 30 December 2017


Infidelity is common among many taxa with prevailing social monogamy, but we still do not know what shapes variation in, and drives the evolution of, extra-pair behaviour. Males are expected to reap fitness benefits from siring extra-pair offspring, because extra-pair fathers do not expend resources on costly parental care. This is, however, not the case for females who raise the resulting extra-pair young, posing the question of why females take part in extra-pair matings. The indirect benefits hypothesis explains female infidelity, where females benefit indirectly from better, or more compatible genes for their offspring. However, this hypothesis is not well supported empirically, evidenced by two contradictory meta-analyses on the topic, and ongoing discussion in the field. Specifically, only one long-term study that quantified life-time reproductive success supports the indirect fitness benefits hypothesis. Contradicting this result, extra-pair males have not been found to be superior, or more compatible, than a female’s within-pair male. Females were found to incur no indirect benefits, and even fitness costs by mating outside of their pair bond, suggesting that that this hypothesis does not satisfactorily explain why females cheat. Recently suggested novel, testable hypotheses provide a fresh perspective. These hypotheses explain female infidelity with intra- and intersexual antagonistic pleiotropy, and remain largely untested. This project aims to empirically test these hypotheses by using the powerful combination of long-term data from a wild population, state-of-the-art social network analysis and manipulative experiments on captive birds. This project will reap the benefits from long-term data in the wild, where precise fitness data and a genetic pedigree allow fitness costs and benefits to be measured, and quantitative genetic analyses. Given the long-standing conundrum of female extra-pair behaviour, this project has the potential forward this field significantly.


Very cool project on trans-generational effects. We’ll use RNA sequencing experiments on sparrow sperm to detect epigenetic, trans-generational effects. This project on the forefront of epigenetics is super exciting because we have long-term data available, and the expertise from researchers at the Sanger Institute (Dr Katharina Gapp) and the Gurdon Institute University Cambridge (Prof Eric Miska) on board! If you like the lab, and birds, and field work, this is for you! Deadline 30 December 2017


The current speed at which environmental conditions change is unprecedented, endangering vulnerable populations and species. A novel idea for how organisms can sustainably respond to rapid environmental changes are environmentally induced adaptations that are heritable. Such trans-generational, potentially epigenetic effects can, with high precision mediate evolutionary rescue of populations that experience rapidly changing environments. These advantages put TAGs at the forefront of mechanisms leading to adaptations to global change. This project will use long-term data from a wild population of passerines, and focused experiments on birds in captivity, to disentangle phenotypic plasticity induced during development from epigenetic TAGs, to better understand the epigenetic mechanism, and evolution of TAGs. We will use state-of-the art RNA-sequencing experiments (to be performed in the Sanger institute) to pinpoint TAGs in RNA methylation patterns in sparrow sperm, using focused experiments in captive and wild birds.

Journals – free to a good home

Dear all

I’m planning a bit of an office tidy-up and I have a lot of journals that I want to get rid of. I don’t imagine anybody will want them, but just in case, the following are free to whoever would like them:

Molecular Ecology – 1992-2010 (all issues)
Evolution 2000-2010 (all issues)
Molecular Ecology Notes/Resources 2001-2010 (all issues)
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2007-2010 (all issues)

I don’t imagine the library will want them, but will try there as well.

Let me know (j.slate@sheffield.ac.uk) if you would like them.

First footage of a wild otter in the Peak District !!