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Investigating the genetic basis of reproductive barriers in Heliconius butterflies

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  • Full or part time
    Dr K Dasmahapatra
    Dr N Nadeau
  • 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

Neotropical Heliconius butterflies are a model system for investigating the
process of speciation. However, most all our knowledge of reproductive barriers
in this group is restricted to the role of colour patterns in mate choice. Our
research has only just started to reveal the importance of other potential
reproductive barriers in these butterflies such as male sex pheromones, wing

shape and flight dynamics. In this PhD project you will characterise and
genetically map these traits across multiple taxon-pairs at early stages of
This is a multidisciplinary project involving tropical fieldwork, gas
chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis, analysis of high-throughput
genomic datasets, and image and video analysis, offering high training value.
Fieldwork will be carried out in Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research
Institute, with the possibility of additional work in Ecuador and/or Colombia.

Funding Notes

Funding: This is a 3.5 year fully-funded studentship part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE). The studentship covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (around £15,000 per year), (ii) tuition fees at UK/EU rate, (iii) research consumables and training necessary for the project.

Entry requirements: At least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the DTP, including environmental, biological, chemical, mathematical, physical and social sciences.


Eligibility: The studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements. Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Further information about eligibility for Research Council UK funding

Shortlisting: Applicants will be notified if they have been selected for interview in the week commencing on Monday 28 January 2019.

Interviews: Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place in the Department of Biology at the University of York in the week beginning 11 February 2019 (or the following week). Prior to the interview candidates will be asked to give a 5 minute presentation on a research project carried out by them.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of York in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.37

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

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