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Genetic causes and ecological consequences of flowering initiation in Linum bienne

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R Perez-Barrales
    Prof S Armbruster
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project code: BIOL3150217

Global warming has shifted the start of flowering in many plant species. Spring starts earlier in the UK and the North of Europe, where the flowering season has now extended. In Mediterranean countries, flowering also starts earlier, but its duration is shorter to avoid the summer period and the dry season. Although we have a relatively good understanding of the pathways that trigger flowering initiation, we are still far from understanding how plants perceive and respond to environmental and climatic variation to shift from vegetative growth to initiate flowering, and the level to which global warming affects it. Furthermore, an adaptive response to the stress imposed by global warming can only occur if plant populations harbour sufficient genetic variation in flowering initiation.

In this project, we will investigate variation in flowering initiation and in other plant traits to assess how they affect seed production in Linum bienne. This will be done in populations across its geographic range between the South of Spain and the UK. The project will include greenhouse experiments and common garden experiments to estimate genetic and phenotypic variation, and heritability of flowering initiation and correlated traits and plant performance. This will allow detecting local adaptation associated to different environments and climates in Europe. It will also help identifying populations resilient to global warming and prompt to provide an adaptive response to climate change. Because L. bienne is the wild crop relative of cultivated flax, measures of traits with agronomic value will be included to assess the potential of L. bienne to improve cultivated flax.

Candidates must have a Master degree, and background in Plant Biology, Ecology and Evolution. The present project will suit candidates interested on Evolutionary Ecology, and with a profile in data analysis. The candidate should be familiar with R for data analysis of ecological and molecular data, and flexible to work in a team and independently. It is expected that (s)he will be active preparing grant proposal and manuscripts. The candidate will gain skills both in the field and the lab, plant breeding, crop research, and data analysis. The lab work and greenhouse experiments will be conducted in the facilities of The University of Portsmouth. The candidate will have access to the Graduate School Development Programme and Department Postgraduate Researcher Training, and will join the Biodiversity and Evolution research team at the School of Biological Science.

Funding Notes

Home/EU applicants only. Please use the online application form and state the project code (BIOL3150217) and studentship title in the personal statement section.

Funds will be provided for 3 or 4 years which will include: bursary (at current RCUK rates), University fees (UK/EU rate) plus £1,500 pa project costs/consumables for the duration of the studentship.

How good is research at University of Portsmouth in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 25.73

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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