postdoc – evolution of multicellularity in algae.

postdoc for 2+1 years to work on the evolution of multicellularity in algae.

Evolutionary Biology: predicting the evolution of multicellularity

Description of the project

A postdoctoral fellowship position is available to work on a project
examining the major evolutionary transitions led by Charlie Cornwallis.
The fellow will work with researchers in the molecular ecology and
evolution lab and the aquatic ecology group at the Department of
Biology, Lund University.

Over evolutionary time there have been several major transitions that
have shaped contemporary patterns of organismal complexity. In each of
these transitions a group of individuals that previously replicated
independently joined together to form a new, more complex life form.
For example, unicells joined together to form multicellular bodies,
asexual organisms combined to reproduce sexually and individual
organisms have foregone independence to live in groups.

The position will focus on understanding what predisposes some species
to undergo a major evolutionary transition, with particular focus on
predicting why species go from being unicellular to multicellular. The
project will use a combination of experimental evolution on target
groups (e.g. green algae), and comparative analyses of the independent
transitions to multicelluarity across the tree of life using genomic,
ecological and life-history data. This position will provide the
opportunity to explore social evolutionary theory and develop skills in
experimental design, bioinformatics, phylogenetic comparative methods
and meta-analysis.

The Department of Biology has a number of research units studying a
range of ecological and evolutionary topics including aquatic ecology,
microbial evolution, speciation, sexual selection, and host-parasite
coevolution, and the post-doctoral fellow will be integrated across
these different units.

Description of the qualifications that are required of the candidate


Applicants should have completed a PhD in Evolutionary or Molecular
Biology within four years from application deadline. Candidates should
have a keen interest in general evolutionary theory and demonstrate an
ability to be work both independently and in teams with other
researchers, including co-supervising PhD and MSc students. Experience
and skills in the following areas is essential: experimentation using
algal and/or other microorganisms, molecular genetic analyses and
laboratory work. Experience and skills in the following areas is
desirable: bioinformatics, experimental evolution, linear mixed
modeling and phylogenetic comparative analysis. Complementary training
will be provided where needed.

Fluent written and spoken English is essential with a strong record of
publishing in internationally recognized scientific journals. The
scientific aptitude and the ability to develop and carry out
high-quality research within the subject area will be given special
attention in the assessment of the candidate. Importance will be
attached to the potential of the candidate to develop as an independent

Salary will be set according to the general regulations for
postdoctoral positions at Lund University in relation to the number of
years research experience and achievements. Applicants should send a
cover letter explaining their background, research interests and
motivation for applying to this position, and a CV that includes
publications and the contact information for two referees.

Additional Information
For more information and informal discussion about the position
candidates can contact Charlie Cornwallis

Link to position and information about application procedure:

Charlie Cornwallis <>

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