The aim of the research project is to identify the barriers to dispersal in a microalgal species that forms blooms in freshwater lakes. This research has implications for the understanding of the dispersal of microalgae and microorganisms in general, as well as for predicting the occurrence of new algal blooms. The approach is to determine the importance of physical versus biological dispersal barriers by analyzing the genetic diversity patterns. The current hypothesis is that physical dispersal barriers are important for generating genetic differentiation. Instead, differentiation among microalgal populations might be explained by so called founder effects. Founder effects refer to the dominance of strains or species that arrive first to a new habitat. In laboratory and mesocosm experiments, priority effects and invasion sequence will be investigated in the algal species Gonyostomum semen.
The position will be based at the unit of Aquatic Ecology, Department of Biology, Lund University, in southern Sweden. The PhD project is a part of a larger project financed by Formas (The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences, and Spatial Planning), and will involve collaboration with other PhD students and a group at Gothenburg University (Ass. Prof. Anna Godhe). The project is suitable for applicants who would like to combine ecology and population genetics with molecular biological tools. The practical work will include PCR-based techniques, analyses of population genetic data, algal culturing, and microscopy. Experimental work will be performed both in the laboratory and in the field. In addition, the PhD student will be able to join the Research School in Genomic Ecology (GENECO) in Lund. This program will give access to a network of other PhD students and researchers in genomic ecology, annual meetings, workshops, travel grants to visit other institutions, as well as a career mentor.
Requirements for this position are an MSc or comparable degree in ecology preferably with an aquatic and/or molecular ecological specialization. The successful candidate will have very good experience in molecular techniques. A driver’s license is required, as is very good knowledge of written and spoken English.