PhD position in invertebrate physiology and evolution

We are looking for candidates for a PhD position based in Portaferry to start in autumn 2010, on the project ‘Physiology of living fossils: does oxygen metabolism reflect inherited adaptations to ancient atmospheres?’

Application Deadline: 11 January 2010

This project will assess how different marine invertebrates respond to conditions of low oxygen (hypoxia). Tolerance for a broad range of oxygen availability may be related to animals’ evolutionary lineage, as their direct ancestors survived different levels of past atmospheric oxygen. The subject organisms may be polychaetes, molluscs, and echinoderms, particularly ‘living fossils’ or the earliest-derived lineages in these clades. Work will include taxonomic selection of evolutionarily relevant study organisms; animal culture to rear experimental subjects in the laboratory; laboratory experiments to measure standard physiology metrics; and designing experiments to compare these responses in various ocean chemistry regimes. All laboratory and field work will be based in the Queen’s University Marine Laboratory in Portaferry. The student should have a strong enthusiasm and background in: invertebrate zoology, physiology, and/or evolutionary biology. The experimental work in this project will involve practical hands-on work designing and building experimental apparatus, but also numerical analysis to test the results in the context of evolution. Testing whether there is a relationship between phylogenetic lineage and physiological performance in a range of ocean chemistry conditions will have important implications for understanding and predicting the impacts of future ocean acidification on marine invertebrate communities.

Primary supervisor: Julia Sigwart

Funding: Department for Employment and Learning NI – full funding (tuition and stipend) for UK students only (partial funding is available for EU students)

Apply online:

Deadline: 11 January 2010

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