The purpose of this PhD project is to use the woolly mammoth as a model system to investigate evolutionary changes in real time. At a genetic level, micro-evolution is the result of an interaction between natural selection and genetic drift, where the latter increases in importance the smaller a population becomes. To examine this interaction, we will generate up to 100 woolly mammoth genomes dated to the last 25,000 years of the species’ existence. This time period encompasses several dramatic changes in climate at the end of the Pleistocene (15-11 kya) as well as the subsequent isolation of mammoths on Wrangel Island, where a very small population survived for 6,000 years until the species became extinct. The genomic data will be used to examine the impact of climate change as well as island isolation on adaptive evolution and demography in the woolly mammoth. Moreover, we will investigate the timing, rate and extent of genome erosion in the Wrangel Island population leading up to the species extinction.
For this project, good knowledge in population genetics, bioinformatics as well as experience of laborative DNA analysis are important qualifications. The PhD project will be supervised by Professor Love Dalén at the Department of Bioinformatics and Genetics, Swedish Museum of Natural History.
The PhD student will be employed by Stockholm University (Department of Zoology), but will be based at the Department of Bioinformatics and Genetics at the Swedish Museum of Natural History (SMNH). The museum is located in Stockholm, which by many is regarded as one of the most beautiful capitals in the world and is home to a vibrant scientific community with several leading research institutes as well as the National Genomics Infrastructure at the Science for Life Laboratory. The SMNH has a strong mission in natural history research, and its research division has more than 170 employees. The department of Bioinformatics and Genetics hosts three research groups, focused on ancient DNA and population genetics (PI: Prof. Love Dalén), avian systematics and biogeography (PI: Dr. Martin Irestedt), and phylogenomics (PI: Prof. Fredrik Ronquist).
In order to meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle, or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.
In order to meet the specific entry requirements, the general syllabus for doctoral studies in the field of Systematics and Evolution stipulates that applicants must must have completed a research degree (e.g. Master’s), or have passed at least 120 hp (2 years) of biological studies, including an approved independent project of at least 30 hp at advanced level (“examensarbete”) within systematics and evolution, ecology, population genetics, bioinformatics or a similar subject. Applicants who have in principle acquired the corresponding competence in Sweden, or abroad, are also qualified.
Terms of employment
The four year PhD program includes three years of research and one year of course work. The salary follows the agreement for PhD positions at Stockholm University.
For questions about the position and further information about the project, contact Prof. Love Dalén, Email: [email protected]
How to apply
Applications should be done using Stockholm University’s online application system. Please follow the link below to obtain further information about how to write your application and how to access the online application system:
see on webpage : http://palaeogenetics.com/jobs
Closing date: 15 January 2018
Reference number: SU FV-3830-17