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Open Positions

PhD position at EcoGenetics, Aarhus University

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Biology programme.
The position is available from 1st August 2024 (but starting date is flexible).  


Functional variation in arthropod performance across agro-ecosystems 

Research area and project description: 

Evolutionary biology, ecophysiology, genetics 

The specific PhD project takes an experimental approach to understand the factors that drive variation in arthropods and its consequences for arthropod performance across agro-ecosystems. It tests hypotheses about the link between land use, distribution of genetic diversity and population declines in selected arthropod species with essential roles as pollinators and decomposers. The key focus is therefore on measuring population variation in life history and stress-related phenotypic traits in populations of springtails and butterflies, and interpreting these results in relation to already available data on population genomic variation as well as spatial and temporal data on land use. Specifically, the project will 1) investigate population variation in reproductive traits, decomposition, immune performance and population growth in species of Collembola, 2) use common garden experiments to test hypotheses about local adaptation in species of Collembola, 3) test hypotheses about adaptation and plasticity of dispersal ability in species of butterflies. The details of the project will be planned with the interests of the successful candidate in mind. 

The successful applicant will participate in a project lodged within the work of the Centre for Ecological Genetics (https://bio.au.dk/forskning/forskningscentre/centre-for-ecological-genetics). The centre, led by Prof. Trine Bilde, investigates the population genetic consequences of the dramatic declines observed in insect diversity and abundance, and the potential consequences for their ability to perform ecosystem services such as pollination and natural pest control. The centre provides an active and diverse international group of researchers and students with groups in Aberdeen, Helsinki and Aarhus. In addition to colleagues at the Department of Biology, Aarhus University, particularly Prof. Marjo Saastamoinen, University of Helsinki (http://www.helsinki.fi/life-history-evolution), provides potential close collaboration and opportunity for exchange. The work will be done under the supervision of Prof. Jesper Givskov Sørensen (AU). Co-supervision will be provided by Prof. Trine Bilde and Assoc. Prof. Tove Hedegaard Jørgensen (AU), and Prof. Marjo Saastamoinen (Helsinki), depending on the developed PhD project. 

Qualifications and specific competences: 

A Master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in Biology or a similar relevant subject are possible backgrounds. A strong interest in experimental work and data analysis is required - along with the ability to communicate scientific work. Experience with insect (eco)physiology, and a strong background in evolutionary biology is highly valuable. 

Place of Employment and Place of Work: 

The place of employment is Department of Biology, Aarhus University, Denmark, and the place of work is the section for Genetics, Ecology and Evolution, Ny Munkegade 114-116, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark 

Contact person: Jesper Givskov Sørensen jesper.soerensen@bio.au.dk