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OPEN POSITIONS Post-doc: Testing for parallel ecological speciation and its contribution to Amazonian megadiversity

At the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences (BioEnv) we have teaching and research activities that span from the alpine ecosystem, through forests, cultivated land and streams, all the way into the marine environment. In these environments, we study different levels of biological organisation from genes, individuals and populations, to communities and ecosystems. We work within ecology, evolution, physiology, systematics and combinations of these fields in order to understand the impact of natural and anthropogenic changes of the environment.

The department is placed at three different localities: in the Gothenburg Botanical garden, at Medicinarberget in Gothenburg, and at the Kristineberg marine research station that is run by the Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Infrastructure. There is some flexibility for the placement of the position, but ideally the person will sit at the Gothenburg Botanical Garden.

Project description

Although parallel speciation is a well-recognized phenomenon in animals, it is poorly evidenced in plants. This project aims to address the following general questions: Does ecology affect population structure in plants to the degree that it can cause ecological speciation? Does ecological speciation occur parallel in continental systems? Can evidence of ecological speciation support a model of sympatric speciation, where new species arise in overlapping geographic distributions? These questions will be applied to a model system that has been developed in an Amazonian palm (Listabarth 1993; Roncal et al. 2006, 2007; Borchsenius et al. 2016; Bacon et al. in preparation).

We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled person to work with statistical approaches, phylogeonomics and phylogeography, and species occurrence data to develop a framework to test for parallel ecological speciation. The work is focused on palms, specifically on Geonoma macrostachys, but data is also available for comparative phylogeographical work with the palm, Mauritia flexuosa, and other Amazonian taxa across the tree of Life. This four-year project is funded by the Swedish Research Council.

Job assignments

The tasks envisioned will include some or all of the following:

  • Field work in the western Amazon (e.g. Colombia, Ecuador)

  • DNA extraction

  • Bioinformatics and phylogeographical analyses

  • Use fossil pollen to infer ancestral population sizes through time

  • Quantify adaptability to climate using outlier SNP loci


The applicant must hold a PhD in an area relevant for the tasks at hand (molecular phylogenetics, molecular ecology, phylogeography, biostatistics, bioinformatics, or related fields). The PhD exam must be finished prior to the closing date of this announcement.

Other required qualifications:

  • Documented capacity to work in groups and independently
  • Advanced skills in R, python or another analytical platform
  • Advanced skills in phylogeography and/or phylogenomics
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English

Assessment (other desirable qualifications)

  • Experience with manipulative experiments related to common gardens and/or reciprocal transplants
  • Experience with phylogenetic diversity metrics, molecular dating, biogeography, comparative phylogenetic analyses, ancestral trait evolution, and/or next-generation sequencing data
  • Language capacity in Spanish

The employment

The employment is a full-time position for 24 months. The physical placement will be decided upon agreement, but should be at the University of Gothenburg.


The application should be written in English, compiled into a single .pdf file, and must include:

  • A cover letter with the applicant’s motivation for application, describing how the applicant meets the selection criteria (max. two A4 pages)

  • A list of qualifications (CV)

  • Complete list of publications, including submitted and accepted manuscripts

  • Certificate of PhD exam and other relevant education

  • Contact information for at least two referees that are familiar with the applicant’s qualifications

 The top ranked candidates will be selected for an interview, which will be held in English, and will be performed by phone /skype.

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Complementary documents, such as publications/books should be sent to the following address: University of Gothenburg, Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Att: Ingela Lyck, Box 463, 405 30 Gothenburg. Reference number should be clearly stated when sending complementary documents.

Closing date 2018-03-15

For further information please contact

Christine D. Bacon, Assist. Prof.
Phone: +46 076 618 5167

Email: christine.bacon@bioenv.gu.se

Webpage: http://antonelli-lab.net/

Henrik Aronsson, Professor and Head of Department
Phone: +46 31 786 48 02

Email:  henrik.aronsson@bioenv.gu.se


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg: http://www.gu.se/english/about_the_university/job-opportunities/union-representatives


The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Salary is determined on an individual basis.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.


The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 38 000 students and 6 000 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.

Page Manager: rekrytering@gu.se|Last update: 2/23/2017

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