[ES_JOBS_NET] PhD position - "Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes" / GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

Patrick Lange plange at geomar.de
Fri Apr 21 01:29:02 MDT 2017

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel is a foundation of public
law jointly financed by the Federal Republic of Germany (90%) and the
state of Schleswig-Holstein (10%) and is one of the internationally
leading institutions in the field of marine sciences. Currently GEOMAR
disposes over an annual budget of approx. 80 million Euro and has approx.
100 employees.

The research unit “Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes” is offering a

PhD position

in the DFG funded project Convergent evolution of immunological tolerance
in female and male pregnancy. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Olivia
Roth (GEOMAR, Kiel) in collaboration with Dr. Sissel Jentoft (Centre for
Evolutionary and Ecological Synthesis (CEES), Oslo, Norway) and Dr. Till
Bayer (GEOMAR, Kiel). A close cooperation with a co-PhD student who is
already employed in the project and a postdoc for whom the search will
start soon is expected.

Job Description

We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic applicant, who shares our
fascination for the immune system and male pregnancy in pipefishes and
seahorses, and who feels inspired to devote himself to the evolution and
genetic basis of male pregnancy using experimental, molecular biological
and bioinformatic tools. The start date is as soon as possible.

Project Description

Viviparity has evolved multiple times independently in the animal kingdom.
In addition to specific morphological reorganizations, major changes in
the immunological tolerance were indispensably associated with the
evolution of pregnancy and placentation in mammals. Only if the embryo is
immunologically tolerated, a successful pregnancy of non-self tissue
within the womb is permitted. These processes remain severely understudies
in other vertebrates. The group parental investment and immune dynamics
led by Dr. Olivia Roth investigates the evolution of mating systems in the
most species-rich vertebrate group, the teleosts. Our research focuses on
the evolution of immunological tolerance in male pregnancy of pipefishes
and seahorses (syngnathids). This project aims to shed light on how male
pregnancy coevolved with rearrangements of the adaptive immune system.
With comparative genomics, transcriptomics and gene knock-in and
knock-out, we aim to examine the genetic basis of trait loss and gain, and
will highlight which genes with different original functions were
recruited (gene co-option), and which were newly established during the
evolution of parental investment.

The successful applicant will focus on mating experiments followed by
comparative transcriptomics over the reproductive phase of several
Syngnathiformes species, displaying a range from parental investment
(solely egg and sperm provisioning to female and male pregnancy) and sex
roles (from conventional to reversed). Combined with the comparative
genomics approach (co-PhD student) and gene knock-in and knock-out over
CRISPR-cas (postdoc) we aim to shed light on the convergent evolution of
parental investment.

The GEOMAR, the University of Kiel and the Max Planck Institute for
Evolutionary Biology in Plön are part of a stimulating research
environment for Evolutionary Biology in Germany. The PhD student will join
one of our two graduate schools, either the International
Max-Planck-Research School for Evolutionary Biology (IMPRS) or the
Integrated School of Ocean Sciences (ISOS). Kiel is the capital of the
most Northern state of Germany, directly located at the coast of the
Baltic Sea. Kiel offers many opportunities for leisure activity, in
particular people enjoying watersports will love the environment.


The successful candidate is required to have a Master in Biology, to be
highly motivated and able to interact with a team of researchers. A
background in evolutionary biology and the knowledge of immunological and
molecular biology, as well as experience in the analysis of
next-generation sequencing data are desirable. Experience in fish handling
and aquaria experiments would be advantageous.

Salary is according to the scale for public servants TvÖD 13 (65%), the
project duration is three years with the aim of doctorate degree. The
working language of our group is English.

The GEOMAR seeks to increase the proportion of female scientists and
explicitly encourages qualified female academics to apply. GEOMAR is an
equal opportunity employer and encourages scientists with disabilities to
apply. Qualified disabled applicants will receive preference in the
application process.

Please send your application including a curriculum vitae, a one-page
statement of research interests and a letter of motivation, along with
names and addresses of two referees as a single pdf file by email to
bewerbung at geomar.de under the heading Converge Preg. The closing date is
May 16th, 2017.

For further information regarding the position and research unit please
contact Olivia Roth (oroth at geomar.de, phone number: ++49 431 600 4557).
GEOMAR is a member of the Helmholtz Association and the German Marine
Research Consortium (KDM). For further information about GEOMAR, please
visit www.geomar.de or www.helmholtz.de, and on the group parental
investment and immune dynamics, please visit

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