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PhD Studentship in Insect-Plant Interactions: Why is there such high diversity of chemical defences?

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, December 25, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate to join a project exploring plant-herbivore interactions and evolution of host-plant defences in willows. The successful candidate will dissect the mechanisms promoting chemical diversity in plants. Using a series of complementary approaches, the successful candidate will show how chemical diversity in plants arises from the pressure by herbivores and their interaction specificity, forming large-scale patterns and broad evolutionary trends. The study combines field component examining the impact of herbivores on plants, manipulative green-house experiments, with laboratory-based analysis of plant phylogeny and secondary chemistry. Please see the links below for more details on the project background.

• a MSc degree (non-negotiable requirement for applying for this PhD programme)
• a deep interest in the ecology of insects or plants
• experience in both field work and lab work
• excellent skills in biostatistics, plus experience in (a) phylogenetic analysis and bioinformatics, or (b) plant chemistry analysis
• fluency in spoken and written English
• an ability to work independently
• a driving license (optional, but highly recommended)

The successful applicant will join the Ecology Department at the Institute of Entomology, Biology Center of the Czech Academy of Science and the Zoology Department of the University of South Bohemia. The PhD study will be supervised by Dr. Martin Volf in collaboration with Prof. Vojtech Novotny (head of the Ecology Department) and Dr. Simon T. Segar (Harper Adams University. The candidate will live in Ceske Budejovice (Czech Republic) where the studies will take place. The programme offers an opportunity to conduct the laboratory work in the Czech Republic and abroad, within a collaborative network of our colleagues from Europe and overseas. The field work involves sampling in the Czech Republic, Austria, and the United States. Our department is a diverse, international team (11 nationalities) studying ecology, evolution and biogeography, and a world-class centre for interaction network research with regular publications in leading journals.

The deadline for applications is December 25th 2019. The best candidates will be interviewed on January 3rd and 4th 2020. The successful applicant is expected to start on March 1st 2020 (later start date negotiable). The student will receive a scholarship fully covering living expenses in the Czech Republic for 3 years. Applicants from all countries are eligible.To apply please send a CV, contact details for three references, and a cover letter stating qualifications, previous work and motivation to Dr. Martin Volf () where you can also send any queries.

Project background:
the Biology Center of the Czech Academy of Science:
Zoology Department of the University of South Bohemia:
Martin Volf:
Vojtech Novotny:
Simon T. Segar:

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