DaveLunt.net - Dr Dave Lunt | PDRA OPM and forest metabarcoding
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PDRA OPM and forest metabarcoding

This position is now filled. A 2-year postdoc is available using DNA barcoding and next generation sequence (NGS) metabarcoding to study forest ecological networks and forest health. This project has a particular focus on the Oak Processionary Moth (OPM; Thaumetopoea processionea), an invasive species that is highly damaging to oak trees and which poses health risks to humans. The project is a collaboration between myself, Dr Darren Evans (Biological Conservation Group, also Univ of Hull), and Dr Nigel Straw  (Forest Research, the Research Agency of the Forestry Commission).

Oak Processionary Moth caterpillarsA primary goal of the project is to employ DNA barcoding to identify the hymenopteran parasitoids of OPM and shared hosts. Potentially these could be harnessed as a natural form of pest control. The structure of these food-webs will be analysed using ecological network analysis. The application of evolutionary and environmental genomics is a research strength at Hull with considerable expertise and a wide range of genomics projects ongoing. Our groups have very considerable expertise of DNA barcoding, including parasitoid barcoding experiments already running in agricultural systems, and metabarcoding of eukaryotic communities. There is considerable scope for a motivated PDRA to bring their own ideas to complement our own, and develop NGS metabarcoding approaches to characterise forest community composition more broadly.

The successful applicant will collaborate closely with Forest Research and other partner organisations and will be supported in developing independent fellowship proposals. He/She will have a PhD in an appropriate biological discipline, substantial experience in molecular ecology, strong quantitative skills, evidence of work of publishable quality, excellent oral and written communication skills, demonstrable ability to work as an effective team member and be reliable, self-motivated and well organized. Experience of NGS analysis and ecological network analysis using R is desirable, but not essential.

The position is fixed term for 2 years. The start date of the PDRA will ideally be early 2014. Salary range: £31,331 to £38,522 pa. Starting salaries according to qualification and experience. You can learn more about this position and apply online at https://jobs.hull.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=FS0065. Closing date for applications is 20th December 2013.

Informal enquiries to Dr Darren Evans (d.evans@hull.ac.uk) or Dr Dave Lunt (dave.lunt@gmail.com)