A postdoctoral research position in DNA metabarcoding of sand-dwelling beetle assemblages is available at the University of Cyprus.
Two-year postdoctoral position at the Molecular Ecology & Evolution Lab of the University of Cyprus, starting 1st of March 2022. The project is coordinated by Dr. Anna Papadopoulou (University of Cyprus) and will be developed in collaboration with Prof. Alfried P. Vogler (The Natural History Museum, London).
Coastal sand dune ecosystems are highly dynamic environments, due to their unstable substrate and their constant change in response to wind, waves, tides and sea-level fluctuations. Habitat instability has been proposed to affect dispersal propensity and/or extinction-recolonisation rates, and thus to play an important role in population dynamics, but empirical evidence remains limited. Previous research of our group has identified low genetic diversity and shallow phylogeographic structure in sand-obligate beetle lineages, in contrast to their close relatives inhabiting inland stable habitats (see Papadopoulou et al., 2009). This project will aim to assess the demographic effects of habitat instability at the assemblage level. For this purpose, we will sample systematically ten sand dune ecosystems of different sizes and grades of disturbance along the coast of Cyprus and we will apply whole-organism community mtDNA metabarcoding with rigorous read filtering protocols (see Noguerales et al., 2021) to obtain haplotype-level data (i.e., Amplicon Sequence Variants; ASVs) for each of the sampled beetle taxa. Based on the ASV data, we will estimate intrapopulation genetic diversity and metrics of population differentiation for each species and we will apply comparative phylogeographic analyses to test for concerted demographic responses (see Papadopoulou & Knowles, 2015) across sand-dwelling taxa of different traits (e.g., sand-obligate vs. habitat generalists, flightless vs. winged taxa).
1. Participation in field sampling of sand-dune ecosystems and sample processing.
2. Sanger sequencing for selected voucher specimens.
3. DNA metabarcoding library preparation from bulk Coleoptera samples.
4. Bioinformatic analyses of metabarcoding data at the species (OTUs) and haplotype levels (ASVs)
4. Comparative phylogeographic and population genetic analyses based on the generated ASVs dataset.
5. Publication of results.
Applicants are required to have:
1. PhD in Evolutionary Biology, Molecular Ecology or related fields.
2. Experience in DNA metabarcoding methods, including relevant wet-lab protocols and bioinformatic analyses.
3. Experience in Linux/Unix and common statistical environments (e.g., R, Python).
4. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
Additional desirable skills:
1. Previous work on insects (preferably Coleoptera).
2. Experience in field sampling.
3. Experience in phylogeography and population genetics.
Applicants should provide the following documents (preferably as a single pdf file):
1. letter of interest (up to 1 page)
2. short CV (up to 2 pages)
3. contact information of two academic referees
Interested candidates should submit their applications via email to: email@example.com
Application deadline: the 12th of January 2022
Contract duration: 1st of March 2022 until 28th of February 2024.
Gross salary: 2,600 euros.