Hihi postdoc

Predicting the adaptive potential of the endangered New Zealand hihi (stitchbird; Notiomystis cincta)

We are pleased to offer an 18 month postdoctoral fellowship, funded by a Marsden Fund Grant, with Dr Anna Santure in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand. This project is an exciting opportunity to use statistical genetic approaches to understand and predict the evolutionary potential of the endangered New Zealand hihi (stitchbird; Notiomystis cincta), and is a collaboration with Dr Patricia Brekke and Dr John Ewen at the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, see www.hihiconservation.com.

Determining the adaptive potential of wild populations requires that we understand the genetic basis of traits that are important for survival and reproduction in these populations. We are developing a genomic toolkit to characterise the genetic basis of morphological and life history traits in the reintroduced Tiritiri Matangi Island population of hihi, in order to understand the potential of the species to respond to changing environmental pressures, including anthropogenic climate change. Hihi are an ideal study system because, in addition to being a wonderful example of eccentric New Zealand wildlife, a reintroduced population of birds on Tiritiri Matangi Island has been intensively monitored since introduction and we have a wealth of data on morphological and life history traits, social and genetic relationships, DNA samples and environmental variables. The postdoctoral fellow will be responsible for quantifying selection on morphological and life history traits, and investigating heritabilities and genetic trade-offs between traits that may constrain the adaptive potential of the species. The postdoc will also have the opportunity to contribute to linkage mapping and association analysis, and there is potential to examine signatures of selection in the draft hihi genome and test the impact of drift versus selection on the population.

We are looking for a candidate with a strong background in quantitative and / or theoretical population genetics, as well as a passion for evolution and conservation biology and a track record of publishing in leading journals. Candidates with experience in comparative genomics, statistics, bioinformatics, mathematics, computer programming or similar are also encouraged to apply.

The postdoctoral fellowship is available with a salary range of approximately NZD $79,159- $84,931 depending on experience, the start date is negotiable but ideally before September 2016. We welcome informal enquiries, please contact Anna Santure at a.santure (@) auckland.ac.nz.

Applications should be made through the Auckland University Careers site at:


(select Research Fellow – School of Biological Sciences)

The University has an equity policy and welcomes applications from all qualified persons. International applicants are welcome to apply.

The University is committed to meeting its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi and achieving equity outcomes for staff and students.

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