A position is open for a NERC-funded postdoctoral research associate based within the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge, and supervised by Professor Beverley Glover in collaboration with Professor Allan Ellis (University of Stellenbosch).
The appointee will investigate the ecological, population genetic and molecular developmental processes that generate and maintain floral variation and lead to incipient speciation in the South African daisy Gorteria diffusa. In this project we aim to understand how morphological variation within a species is produced genetically, how variation is affected by natural selection resulting from ecological context, and how such variation is maintained when varieties meet. We are particularly focused on the insect-mimicking spots found on the ray florets of Gorteria diffusa.
The primary objectives of this project are:
1) To describe the evolutionary patterns underpinning morphologically distinct populations by character mapping floral traits and the genes underlying them onto our established phylogeny of the system.
2)To determine the ecological causes of intraspecific variation in targeted floral traits through field studies including reciprocal transplant experiments and analyses of ecological context.
3) To determine the evolutionary processes maintaining intraspecific floral variation by investigating barriers to hybridization.
4) To determine the molecular developmental pathways that allow floral variation to evolve, using comparative transcriptomic approaches to identify genetic regulators of petal spots.
We are looking for a highly motivated post-doctoral scientist to work in this area. The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate a strong background in the evolution and development of flowering plants, including a PhD in a relevant area. Experience with molecular genetic, systematic and developmental techniques will be necessary, along with prior experience of ecological techniques.
The appointee will be expected to carry out field work in South Africa over at least two austral springs. For further information contact Professor Beverley Glover (email@example.com) Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.
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