PhD Research Studentship Opportunity
Rivers and Lochs Institute
University of the Highlands and Islands
Genomic Tools for Pearl Mussel Conservation
Applications are invited for a 3 year SNH funded PhD studentship project entitled “Genomic tools for Pearl Mussel Conservation” The studentship will be based with the Rivers and Lochs Institute (RLI), Inverness College UHI at the Inverness Campus. The RLI offers graduate studies and research opportunities in the aquatic biodiversity management sector, and works closely with public agencies, NGOs and industry, to meet local research and training needs. The research is supported by the Institute’s new state-of-the-art applied genomics laboratory.
The studentship will be co-supervised by Dr Barbara Morrissey, Professor Eric Verspoor, and Dr Mark Coulson, of the Rivers and Lochs Institute, and Dr Iain Sime of Scottish Natural Heritage (the industry funding partner in the studentship programme). The studentship will commence 1st October 2017.
The freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera is listed on Annex II of the Habitats Directive and is critically endangered across much of its range. Even in Scotland, a stronghold for the species, populations are generally declining and continue to be threatened by illegal exploitation, habitat degradation, and in-river engineering work. Unusually, given its parasitic nature, effective conservation requires managing both the species itself and host populations, which can encompass either or both brown trout and Atlantic salmon. The overall aim is to develop molecular genomic tools for eDNA assessment of the presence, abundance, reproductive status and host-specificity of pearl mussel populations.
The work of the student will focus on:
The project will be lab focused and the student will utilize a wide-range of molecular genomic methods in the study including DNA extraction, PCR, qPCR and exploit RAD sequencing approaches using NextGen technology to resolve markers for assessments of molecular diversity. They will work closely with a second studentship focused on the development of optimal field sampling protocols and surveying the distribution, abundance and reproductive status of the species in Scottish rivers.
Ideally the candidate will have a strong undergraduate training and specific interest in molecular genomics and its application to biodiversity conservation, and experience or willingness to undertake field work.
Studentships include an annual stipend of (£14,000) and full UK/EU UHI tuition fees (£4,195/yr). Applications will be accepted from International students providing they can meet the difference between UK/EU and International Tuition fees from their own resources for the duration of study.
Applicants should go online to: www.inverness.uhi.ac.uk/staff/vacancies and click on the studentship. Complete the online fields with personal details. Do not complete an application form as instructed in step1. Instead applicants should to provide the following as an attachment combined in one pdf document:
These should be appended using the application form attach facility in the online application.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview and an appointment will be made subject to suitable academic references.
Closing date for receipt of applications: 19th May 2017
Interviews will be held in June 2017
The studentship is expected to start 1st October 2017
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