A 4-year PhD position (100%) is available in the group of Plant Ecology and Evolution at the University of Basel, Switzerland (https://duw.unibas.ch/en/ecoevo/). Research in the group focuses on the extent to which climate adaptation is possible, what the sources of evolutionary constraints are, and how they will affect future species distribution under global warming.
The evolutionary causes of elevational range limits are poorly known. Theory points to changes in the selection regime and genetic limitations. The selection regime may be important if environmental gradients are multivariate or steep at the lower and upper limit of elevational distribution. Genetic limits may arise because of low genetic variation in individual environmental tolerances or because of genetic correlations antagonistic to the direction of selection.
Working with a few alpine and lowland plant species, the student will perform field surveys on species distribution, population genetic analyses and the study of selection in nature. Fieldwork will be an important part of the project and take place in Switzerland, in collaboration with research partners at other Swiss universities.
Candidates should have an enthusiastic interest in plants, their ecology and evolution, and a strong background in quantitative thinking, experimental design, statistical analysis/bioinformatics, and rearing plants. Applicants must have a university degree in natural sciences that allows entrance to a PhD program (ideally in ecology or evolutionary biology), and very good organizational, analytical, and scientific writing skills. Applicants should have a driver's license.
We offer you
The project is based at the Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Switzerland. The Department offers a stimulating environment, including a rich spectrum of research activities in life sciences (plant ecology, population genetics, evolutionary biology, plant physiology and molecular and cell biology). Students will be enrolled in the PhD program of the Zürich-Basel Plant Science Center. Basel is a mid-sized Swiss city, well connected and offering a broad range of cultural and recreational activities. Ideal starting date is March 2021 but is open to negotiation.