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Supra-specific Janzen-Connell effects

PhD studentship in tropical ecology:

Supra-specific Janzen-Connell effects: insect herbivores responding to plant phylogeny and chemistry in a Papua New Guinea rainforest

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate to join a project exploring plant-herbivore interactions, and evolution of host-plant defences in a lowland rainforest in Papua New Guinea. The study combines field component examining the impact of herbivores on plants with laboratory-based analysis of plant phylogeny and secondary chemistry. We are looking for a candidate that has

  • a MSc degree (non-negotiable requirement for this PhD programme)
  • deep interest in the ecology of insects and/or plants
  • exceptional skills in [i] community ecology of insects or plants, or [ii] phylogenetic analysis, or [iii] plant chemistry analysis, or [iv] biostatistics
  • basic experience in bioinformatics. Experience with processing NGS or metabolomics data is optional
  • fluency in spoken and written English
  • ability to work independently, and manage small teams

The successful applicant will join the Ecology Department at the Biology Center of the Czech Academy of Science and the Department of zoology of the University of South Bohemia. The candidate will live in Ceske Budejovice (Czech Republic) and conduct field work at the New Guinea Binatang Research Center. The PhD study will be supervised by Vojtech Novotny and advised by Martin Volf, and Simon Segar. 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 Science, Nature and other leading journals. Both the Czech Republic and Papua New Guinea are easy-going countries where life is interesting.

The deadline for applications is August 31st 2019, with a start date of January 1st 2020 (later start date negotiable). The student will receive a scholarship fully covering living expenses in the Czech Republic for the 4-year PhD course. Applicants from all countries are eligible.To apply please send a CV, contact details for three references, and cover letter stating qualifications, previous work and motivation to Martin Volf ( where you can also send any queries.

Background information on the PhD research topic

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