The demography of clonality across environmental gradients
This project (funded by the Irish Research Council) will collect new data on clonality worldwide in an ecological model species (Plantago lanceolata) and utilize the demographic data at the same sites to determine how demography affects (and is affected by) clonality across environmental gradients using the PLANTPOPNET demographic data-set (www.plantpopnet.com
The mating system is a critical life history parameter affecting plant population performance, response to disturbance and persistence under global change. Although this is well known at a macroevolutionary scale (across species), far fewer studies have examined variation in mating systems, and clonality in particular, within species. Varying levels of clonality within a species across environmental gradients could lead to differences in population performance and life history strategy with implications for predicting population persistence under environmental change. Knowledge about intraspecific variation in the mating system is particularly important for invasive species because the level of clonality can influence their spread in novel environments.
The post-doctoral researcher will work with Prof Yvonne Buckley (TCD, Ireland), Prof Glenda Wardle (University of Sydney, Australia) and Dr Annabel Smith (University of Queensland, Australia) to generate a SNP panel for assessing kinship from co-occurring plants within PLANTPOPNET plots in ca. 30 sites worldwide. Material will be collected by collaborators across the PLANTPOPNET network. The post-doctoral researcher will analyse the SNP data (generated using existing DARTseq protcols) to determine site and plot level clonality metrics and incorporate clonality into demographic models at these sites using 2-6 years of existing demographic data.
There are additional opportunities to contribute to additional PLANTPOPNET papers and projects that are ongoing across the network depending on the interests and skills of the post-doctoral researcher, including work with Prof Andrew Beckerman (University of Sheffield) on local adaptation across environmental gradients.
Experience & skills:
The candidate must have a PhD in ecology, evolution or another relevant area. This position would suit a candidate with strong interests and experience in demography, life history strategy and population modelling. Experience using bioinformatic data would be an advantage. Some basic lab sample preparation skills are needed but the generation of the SNP data is out-sourced using existing sequencing techniques. The candidate will work with Dr Annabel Smith & Prof. Glenda Wardle to apply existing bioinformatic protocols to generate the clonality metrics.
Closing date for this position is 31st January. Please email a cover letter and your cv to Yvonne Buckley, [email protected]
Interviews will be conducted by skype in mid February with an anticipated start date as soon as possible after appointment (ideally mid to late March but negotiable).