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1-yr Research Fellow in the Evolution of Senescence, U Leeds

http://jobs.leeds.ac.uk/FBSBY1077

Programming for Evolutionary Biology conference, 16-20 Sept 2017, Biolowieza, Poland

The dealine for 3rd Programming for Evolutionary Biology
Conference 16-20 Sept 2017, Bialowieza, Poland has been extended. We
now accept abstracts till 31st July.

The Programming for Evolutionary Biology (PEB) conference brings
together biologists broadly interested in applying bioinformatic tools
to answer evolutionary and ecological questions.

It aims to serve as a platform for discussing the ongoing projects and
related bioinformatic pitfalls. The meeting consists of plenary talks
by renowned specialists in the field, contributed talks by the
participants (works in progress are more than welcome!) and workshops.

This year, we are fortunate to be joined by an outstanding list of
Plenary Speakers: Mark Blaxter from University of Edinburgh, Stuart
Baird from Czech Academy of Sciences, Katja Nowick from University of
Leipzig. The workshops will be provided by Przemyslaw Biecek, a data
scientist and R enthusiast from University of Warsaw.

The fee, including meals, accommodation, and transportation from
Warsaw airport and back, is 250 euro.

More info: pebconference.info

Looking forward seeing you in Bialowieza!

On behalf the organising committee,
Agnieszka Kloch

P.S. Abstracts are not required for registration. In case you don’t know, the Bialowieza Forest lies at the border to Belarus and is one of Europe’s last primaeval forests. It is still a UNESCO world heritage site, but currently threatened by a logging campaign. The conference venue is the WEJMUTKA Bialowieza Biodiversity Academy, which lies in the centre of the national park.

2 funded PhDs on Seychelles warblers

Individual variation in reproductive success in the cooperatively breeding Seychelles warbler

Biomarkers of senescence in the Seychelles warbler

Funded PhD on ageing in badgers, U Leeds

A funded PhD studentship on “Early-life environment effects on ageing in European badgers” is available at the University of Leeds, UK, supervised by Dr Hannah Dugdale and co-supervised by Dr Amanda Bretman. The PhD is in collaboration with Prof David Macdonald and Dr Chris Newman at the University of Oxford.

This PhD will address why individuals differ in the point and rate at which they senesce – senescence being the loss of function with age, from the cellular to the organism level. Our understanding of the factors that affect senescence is limited: Within a species, are some individuals better able to buffer against senescence due to physiological adaptations (such as greater oxidative damage resistance and longer protective chromosome caps – termed telomeres), environmental effects (e.g. born in years with high food availability), or social conditions (e.g. low levels of intra-sexual competition)? This PhD will investigate these key questions, using data from a natural population of European badgers subject to variable environmental and social conditions. This will generate critical knowledge that will improve our understanding of how and why some individuals live longer, healthier lives than others, improving our understanding of animal health and informing conservation management decisions. Further information is available here: https://hannahdugdale.wordpress.com/opportunities

Funding: The studentship covers UK/EU tuition fees and a stipend at RCUK rates (~£14,296 pa) for 3 years full-time. Applicants from the UK/EU are eligible; international tuition fee payers are not eligible. Deadline: Friday, April 29, 2016. To apply: http://www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk/postgraduate/researchdegree.php

Funded PhD on senescence in European badgers, U Leeds

Early-life environment effects on telomere dynamics in European badgers

Lead supervisor: Dr Hannah Dugdale (U Leeds)
Co-supervisors: Dr Amanda Bretman (U Leeds), Prof David Macdonald (U Oxford), Dr Chris Newman (U Oxford)

Death is inevitable, but the quality of life prior to death varies enormously. This is because individuals differ in the point and rate at which they senesce – senescence being the loss of function with age, from the cellular to the organism level. Our understanding of the factors that affect senescence is limited: Within a species, are some individuals better able to buffer against senescence due to physiological adaptations (such as greater oxidative damage resistance and longer protective chromosome caps – termed telomeres), environmental effects (e.g. born in years with high food availability), or social conditions (e.g. low levels of intra-sexual competition)? This PhD project will investigate these questions, using data from a natural population subject to variable environmental and social conditions. This will generate critical knowledge that will improve our understanding how and why some individuals live longer, healthier lives than others, potentially contributing to both human and animal health interventions.

This PhD has the exciting opportunity to use long-term data from a wild population of European badgers in Wytham Woods, Oxford, UK. These badgers live in social groups of variable size that on average have six adult males and six adult females. Within this population female badgers show an earlier onset and a shallower rate of reproductive senescence than males, but it is not clear why these sex differences in senescence occur. In another UK badger population, sex differences in somatic senescence rates have been linked to the level of intra-sexual competition that individuals experience in the first two years of adulthood. It is also apparent that stressful environmental conditions in early life, such as low food availability and exposure to disease, can accelerate senescence. This PhD will therefore use telomeres as a bio-molecular measure of senescence, in relation to somatic, actuarial and reproductive senescence. This is important as we currently have very little understanding of how both the onset and the rate of senescence, from the bio-molecular to reproductive levels, are influenced by environmental conditions.

The student wil

2 Funded PhDs on Seychelles warblers

1) Conservation genomics of the Seychelles warbler

Lead supervisor: Prof Terry Burke, Sheffield.
Co-supervisors: Prof Steve Paterson, Liverpool; Dr Hannah Dugdale, Leeds

In the 1960s, the Seychelles warbler was reduced to a single population of <30 birds on Cousin Island. The population later recovered ten-fold due to habitat restoration and has since increased through translocations to four other islands. The global population was however historically vastly larger and an intensive 20-year study of the life history of the entire Cousin population has recorded negative effects of inbreeding on fitness. As the bottleneck in this species was recent and the contemporary population size remains historically small, we hypothesize that genetic variation will continue to be eroded by inbreeding. This project will conduct one of the first conservation genomic analyses, assessing regions of the Seychelles warbler genome that contribute to inbreeding effects. It will model the population size required to maintain extant genomic diversity and so inform future management plans of this and other species of conservation concern. Applicants should have a keen interest in learning field and laboratory skills, including next generation sequencing techniques. They will be trained in population bioinformatics, statistics, conservation genetics, and evolutionary theory. Along with the standard application, applicants should submit a one-page PhD proposal. This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment). This is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool, York and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. For more information, visit: https://acce.shef.ac.uk/ Application: via http://www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply/applying Deadline: Monday, January 11, 2016 2) Offspring or survival: Antagonistic effects and the maintenance of genetic variation in an isolated island population of Seychelles warblers

Lead supervisor: Dr Richardson, University of East Anglia.
Co-supervisors: Dr Hannah Dugdale, Leeds; Prof Terry Burke, Sheffield; Prof Jan Komdeur, Groningen

This project will investigate how different mechanisms – including antagonistic effects on survival and reproduction – interact to maintain genetic variation within a population of the Seychelles warbler.

Genetic variation provides the building blocks for evolution and underpins biodiversity. It is key to the adaptive potential of populations, affecting their probability of extinction. How genetic variation is maintained in natural populations, especially small ones, is therefore a fundamental question in evolutionary and conservation biology. Nowhere is diversity more important than at immune genes, which underpin the ability of individuals and populations to combat pathogens. However we still do not understand how different mechanisms interact to maintain such diversity within natural populations. Only by using modern molecular tools in conjunction with detailed information on individual fitness within populations will we resolve these issues.

Our long-term study of an island population of Seychelles warblers provides an excellent system in which to do this. We have shown that major histocompatibility complex (MHC) variation has been maintained in this bottlenecked species through a combination of natural and sexual selection. Moreover, a single MHC allele can provide individuals with a five-fold greater life expectancy but, intriguingly, the frequency of this allele in the population has not increased. These contradictory results suggest the presence of antagonist effects that counterbalance the positive effect of this allele on survival by negative effects on reproduction.

Now we need a researcher to test the interacting effects of MHC variation on survival and reproduction, and the role of pathogens, using the amazing dataset available for the Seychelles warbler.

This interdisciplinary project will develop an exceptional range of skills in the successful candidate including fieldwork techniques, molecular tools, bioinformatics and analytical expertise.

This project has funding by the EnvEast NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, comprising the Universities of East Anglia, Essex and Kent, with twenty other research partners. To apply: http://www.enveast.ac.uk/how-to-apply

2 tickets for Stewart Lee

I’ve got two tickets for Stewart Lee in Lyceum Theatre on 12 June to give away for £21 each.

If you want to have them text me on 0777 2031835 or send me an email to claudiuskerth@gmx.de

claudius

three bursaries available to PhD students to attend and present at workshop we are organising entitled “Early life developmental effects: unifying evolutionary and biomedical perspectives”

Early life developmental effects: unifying evolutionary and biomedical perspectives
A workshop funded by the Natural Environment Research Council of the UK
9-12 September 2015, St Michael’s Hotel, Falmouth, Cornwall UK

http://www.stmichaelshotel.co.uk

More info: Workshop graduate student competition and Early life workshop 2015 outline

Post-doctoral RESEARCH FELLOW: Quantitative molecular ecologist Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) to study ecology of telomere dynamics in fairy-wrens

Start date: between April and Sep 2015
A/Prof Anne Peters at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, in collaboration with Prof Simon Verhulst, Groningen University, The Netherlands, is seeking an experienced Quantitative Molecular Ecologist to explore the ecology of molecular senescence (telomere attrition). Telomeres shorten as organisms age and short telomeres are associated with greater predisposition to diseases, accelerated organismal senescence and shorter lifespan. Telomere shortening rate is known to vary with external influences and individual quality. This project will use longitudinal sampling of telomere length in individual fairy-wrens, of known age and pedigree. The telomere information will be combined with state of the art statistical methods to study telomere dynamics in relation to life-history and ecology, to disentangle effects of senescence and selective disappearance, and to assess environmental and genetic effects on telomere attrition rate.
As the successful candidate, you will join Anne Peters’ group studying behavioural and evolutionary ecology of fairy-wrens, based at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). You will be expected to optimise and implement existing qPCR protocols for use in fairy-wrens and apply these to blood/DNA samples (> 2000 longitudinal samples). You will further be expected to maintain consistently high research output in the form of quality publications, supervise and train students, develop and submit grant proposals to external funding agencies, contribute more generally to research activities of the group, and participate in appropriate career development activities. The position (Level A, starting salary ~$75 p.a. with annual increments) is for three years subject to satisfactory annual progress.
requirements: Postdoc_Peters_MonashUniversity

BBSRC PhD Studentship in Conservation Genetics

Using molecular genetics to help reconcile food production and biodiversity conservation

With growing demand for food, adverse effects of agriculture on biodiversity will increase. This multidisciplinary project seeks to discover how to strike the best balance for land use by inferring which species of bird are most at risk from population reductions caused by past and future agricultural development. Specifically the student will use genetic population reconstructions to identify what sorts of species have always been rare, which have increased in abundance and which have declined as the area under crops and pasture has grown. Using a mixture of published and new genetic data, late Pleistocene/Holocene population histories will be estimated for a range of birds representing different ecological niches (e.g. woodland, wetland, dry open habitats). The resulting data will be interpreted in the context of current land use and reconstructions of past vegetation cover. Relevant skills include population genetics, molecular genetics, use of computer programmes like BEAST and STRUCTURE, database management and statistics. The successful candidate will have experience in one or more of these, though probably not all, but should be afraid of none!

Supervisors
Being multidisciplinary, the project will be supervised by three people with complementary expertise: Prof. William Amos (primary supervisor), Prof. Andrew Balmford and Prof. Rhys Green.

References
Drummond et al. 2005. Mol. Biol. Evol. 22: 1185. Phalan et al. 2011. Science 333: 1289
Arbabi et al. 2014. Ibis 156: 799.
Applications
This is a strategic BBSRC studentship beginning in October 2015. The successful candidate will be part of the Cambridge BBSRC DTP (http://bbsrcdtp.lifesci.cam.ac.uk/), and will be based in the Department of Zoology for their PhD. To apply, please send your CV and 1-2 page research proposal to Professor William Amos, wa100@cam.ac.uk, by 23 Jan 2015. Shortlisted candidates will be called for interview in Cambridge, which will take place between 16 and 24 February 2015.