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OPEN POSITIONS Postdoc: Modelling Species’ Range Expansions in Marine Environments

The Department of Marine Sciences (http://marine.gu.se/english/) is Sweden's most complete academic environment for marine research and education, and it is one of few such institutions in Europe. The Department of Marine Sciences, founded 2015, brings together expertise in physical oceanography, marine chemistry, marine biology, marine geology, and marine heritage conservation. Thus the department has excellent opportunities to meet future challenges in marine research and education. The Department of Marine Sciences is located with permanent staff in Gothenburg and at the research stations Kristineberg and Tjärnö on the Swedish west coast north of Gothenburg.

Subject area

Applied Physics/Theoretical Biology; Evolutionary Biology 

Subject area description

Climate change related effects commonly induce changes in species distributions. Under a warmer climate it is expected that species distributions change to fit their optimal temperature range. Climate-induced movement will, in most cases, have demographic consequences, and populations at the front of the expansion wave will have low genetic variation. Earlier models show that at the front of an expanding population genetic diversity is controlled by local population size, migration rate, degree of fragmentation of the expanding population and strength of natural selection. However, many of the assumptions in the existing models are overly simple for most wild species (e.g. haploid species, fully sexual or fully clonal reproduction, non-overlapping generations, symmetric stepping-stone or Gaussian dispersal functions, and, in many cases, homogeneous and temporally stable environments). In the project in which the postdoc will work, we aim to deliver new and adequate modelling tools, with which it will be possible to analyze size, quality and structure of the available habitat (“green infrastructure”) needed to mitigate loss of genetic variation during species movements largely induced by human activities.

Empirical genome-wide genetic data are available for several marine species that recently (8000 years ago) expanded their distributions over the steep salinity gradient shaping the Baltic Sea ecosystem, each species with its current range margin at a specific position along the gradient. This postdoc project aims to address two questions: (i) How did expansion 8000 years ago change the genetic structure and content of the populations today, taking into account the impact of gene flow, habitat structure and reproductive biology of the species? (ii) What will happen with these already marginal populations under the increased stress from climate change (warmer and lower salinity)? First, theoretical models will be constructed and iterated. Second, the models will be parameterized with empirical data for target species, and model results will be validated against the spatial patterns of genetic diversity within and between the populations of the target species. Thereafter the results will be used to try to predict future distributions of these species under different climate scenarios and habitat structure (e.g. availability of marine reserves and "green infrastructure").

Job assignments

The candidate will join an international team with both theoretical and empirical competences, working on the evolutionary biology of marine species including the genetics of recently expanded species in the Baltic Sea transition zone. The team is based at the Department of Marine Sciences, with permanent working places both at the research station Tjärnö Marine Laboratory, and at the campus in Gothenburg. Intense collaboration has been established with University of Sheffield for many years.

The candidate is expected, in collaboration with the rest of the team, to perform the modelling work on species’ range expansions including development of the mathematical model, implementing it using individual-based spatially-explicit computer simulations, and analyzing model results both numerically and analytically. The work also includes tests of the model by comparing model results with the available empirical data on present species’ distributions and their spatial genetic patterns using standard software and custom scripts, but also using novel scripts specifically developed within the team to ease and improve the model-data comparison. In addition, the candidate is expected to present the results of the analyses in manuscript(s) and at conferences, and communicate the findings at various dissemination activities. The candidate is also expected to take part in other research-related activities at the department, and within the research group in particular.

Eligibility

Qualified for appointment as postdoc is a person who has been awarded a PhD degree in a subject area relevant for the position no longer than 3 years ago. Relevant subject areas for this position are population genetics, theoretical evolutionary biology, mathematics/physics with previous experience from population genetics/theoretical evolutionary biology or equivalent academic disciplines. A candidate with a foreign degree that is judged to be comparable is also eligible.

The candidate should have earlier deep experience with modelling population genetics, including experience with writing his/her own computer simulations in Matlab, and/or C/C++, and/or Mathematica (or equivalent), and/or experience with statistical analyses of genetic data in a population or evolutionary context. Experience with SLiM is considered an advantage.

Assessment

Scientific proficiency will be the primary criteria for the assessment of merits.

The scientific proficiency is assessed with a focus on the candidate's capacity and earlier experience of working in the field of theoretical population genetics.

The assessment is based primarily on scientific publications and on participation in international conferences and workshops. The successful candidate will be chosen based on an overall assessment of proficiency and potential within the subject area, the potential and ability to independently carry out the duties of the position, and the abilities to communicate and cooperate with others.

Employment

Type of employment: Fixed-term employment, 24 months
Extent: 100%
Location: Department of Marine Sciences in Gothenburg
First day of employment: As agreed

For further information about the position

Please contact Assistant Professor Dr Marina Rafajlović (marina.rafajlovic@marine.gu.se), Professor Kerstin Johannesson (kerstin.johannesson@gu.se), or Professor Roger Butlin (r.k.butlin@sheffield.ac.uk).                          

Unions

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

How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system, and submit the following documents:

  • Personal letter
  • CV, including a complete list of publications, and record of received research grants (with amounts).
  • Copies of maximum 5 accepted publications (including bioRxiv manuscript but not unsubmitted manuscripts).
  • Description of scientific expertise, and a brief description of the applicant's contributions to the scientific publications listed in the CV.
  • Description of other merits, for example, boards of trust, outreach activities.
  • Other documents that the applicant wish to be considered.
  • Names of 2-3 reference persons.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. The selection of candidates is made on the basis of the qualifications registered in the application.

The application is to be written in English.

Closing date: 2020-04-30

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. 49 000 students and 6 400 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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