2 x PhD Opportunities to work on marine eDNA in South Africa

I am looking for two enthusiastic, dynamic and independent students to work on environmental/free DNA in South African marine systems. This technique is gaining global momentum for monitoring biodiversity, understanding community structuring, tracking rare or invasive species and supporting conservation science. The primary focus of this NRF-funded research project is to use an environmental DNA metabarcoding approach to characterise known and hidden genetic diversity in a variety of marine ecosystems in South Africa, to not only allow comparison between sites, but to assess this methodology as a tool for monitoring change in ecosystems.

PhD 1: FishTraceE – eDNA for supporting ground-truthing and spatial planning across coastal marine habitats in South Africa


PhD 2: eDNA diversity of seagrass meadows – from single plants to communities


We are looking for motivated, enthusiastic students that are committed to academic excellence, with a strong academic background to join us from early 2017. You will need to have an MSc in a related discipline and be a good communicator, both written and orally. Ideally you would have experience with molecular analyses and bioinformatics and a good understanding of marine and estuarine systems, although the latter is not essential. You must be willing to carry out fieldwork, be able to work in a group and to enjoy problem solving. We welcome applicants of all backgrounds, but applications from South African students receive preference; however strong applications from non-South African students will certainly be considered. To apply or to find out more about the projects, please contact Prof. Sophie von der Heyden at svdh@sun.ac.za. After initial contact, you will be asked to provide a CV, a short statement on why you wish to pursue a PhD, as well as contact details for two referees.


Prof. Sophie von der Heyden

Associate Professor | Marine Genomics and Conservation

Department of Botany and Zoology

University of Stellenbosch

South Africa

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