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Invasive genomes: what makes an avian invader?

School of Biological Sciences

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Dr Anna Santure , Dr Annabel Whibley No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Auckland New Zealand Bioinformatics Evolution Genetics Zoology

About the Project

A PhD scholarship, funded by a New Zealand Royal Society Marsden Fund Grant, is available with Dr Anna Santure and Dr Annabel Whibley in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand. This project is an exciting opportunity to use genomics and evolutionary genetics approaches to understand the genome features which enable the successful adaptation of invasive bird species. The project will focus on analysing genome assemblies and resequencing data for two globally invasive species present in New Zealand, the common myna (Acridotheres tristis) and common starling (Sturnus vulgaris), and also use comparative approaches to contrast the genome features of invasive and non-invasive avian species worldwide.

We are looking for a candidate with a strong background in genetics along with bioinformatics, computer science, statistics or similar analytical skills, as well as a passion for evolutionary biology and ecology.

The PhD position requires the applicant to be eligible for admission to the PhD programme at the University of Auckland (see; please note the English language proficiency requirements). Candidates should have a GPE of 7 or above (see for a grade conversion calculator). International students are welcome to apply but because New Zealand borders are currently closed to non-residents, we may need to arrange an off-campus start to the project. In this case, please note the stipend cannot be paid until the candidate is able to arrive in New Zealand, at which point it will be back-dated.

This project is a collaboration with Dr Lee Ann Rollins at the University of New South Wales, Prof Rebecca Johnson at the Smithsonian National Museum and Dr Richard Major at Australian Museum. To apply for this position, please email Dr Anna Santure () with your CV, names and details of two referees, your academic transcript, your calculated GPE from the link above, and a short statement of interest. I welcome informal enquiries.

The PhD scholarship is available for an ideal start date between May and October 2021 and covers tuition fees and an annual stipend of NZD$27,500 for three years. The closing date is 1 March 2021.

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