Postdoctoral research assistant in evolutionary genetics and biochemistry of calcifying Ph (vacancy ID :150798)

Job Details

Earth Sciences, South Parks Road, Oxford Grade 7: £32,817 – £36,914 p.a

Calcifying phytoplankton, such as coccolithophores, are a fundamental component of the marine carbon cycle. Yet, we have little understanding how changing climate affects calcification and how it is going to evolve under the environmental pressure imposed by global warming and ocean acidification. Currently there is little mechanistic understanding of how energy and carbon flow between photosynthesis and calcification in coccolithophores, and how this dynamic coupling is affected by resource limitation and environmental stress. Our knowledge gap on the environmental sensitivity of the coupling between photosynthesis and calcification means that we still do not know whether coccolithophore calcification increases or decreases in response to ocean acidification, despite 20 years of research.

This project will take advantage of advances in cutting-edge evolutionary genomic and biogeochemical techniques that document and mechanistically interrogate the sensitivity of coccolithophore calcification rates to the environment. The project will focus on ubiquitous and highly abundant coccolithophore species, Emiliania huxleyi , that is a de-facto model system for calcifying phytoplankton. Sufficient globally distributed isolates of this species are now available in culture so that it is possible to gain an integrative insight of the evolutionary genetics, physiology and biochemistry control the calcite production, as well as its change over micro- and macro-evolutionary timescales.

The successful candidate will be responsible for identification of candidate genes responsible for distinct photosynthetic and calcification adaptations to the environment. These genes will be used in evolutionary genetic and functional analyses to understand how different environments select for increased or decreased calcification and how calcification has evolved over time. The work will involve detailing the diversity of resource allocation strategies within different Emiliania huxleyi strains by performing biochemical and metabolomic analyses on strains grown under a range of environmental stresses. The postholder will work at outlining the interface between genetic expression, and the generation of organic molecules that both fuel and shape the calcite. They will be required to develop, test and refine working hypotheses, and analyse data from a range of sources. They will be expected to manage their own academic research and administrative activities, to contribute ideas for this research project and others, and to represent the group and the project at external meetings/seminars.  

The successful candidate will hold, or be close to completion of, a relevant PhD. They will also have experience in evolutionary genetics and genomics. Familiarity/prior experience with association mapping and with physiology (ideally of coccolithophores) will be an advantage. They will have the ability to manage their own academic research and associated activities and have excellent communication skills, including the ability to write for publication and present research proposals and results.

This post is fixed term for 3 years from 06 September 2021 (or as soon as possible after). Candidates should apply online by midday on Friday 25 June 2021. Interviews will be held in mid-July 2021.

Contact Person : HR Team Vacancy ID : 150798

Contact Phone : 01865 272000

Closing Date & Time : 25-Jun-2021 12:00

Contact Email : 

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