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Aberdeen, UK: PhD, niche evolution PDF Tisk Email
PhD position, Aberdeen, UK: Niche Evolution in a Warming World

Institution: Aberdeen University

Dept/School/Faculty: School of Biological Sciences

PhD Supervisor: Dr L Lancaster

Application Deadline: Friday, January 16, 2015Funding Availability: Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)Supervisors: Dr Lesley Lancaster, Professor Michael Ritchie (St Andrews) and Professor
Jorgen Ripa (Lund)For more details and application, please visit: 
Many organisms are currently responding to climate change with dramatic shifts in 

their geographic ranges and ecological niches. However, the mechanisms underlying

these biotic consequences of rapidly changing climates remain poorly

understood. It is critical to improve our understanding in this area of

research, as many pests and disease-carrying species are currently expanding

under global climate change, while other, less rapidly evolving species face

extinction. In this PhD project, the student will investigate a number of

hypothetical evolutionary trajectories that could underlie or constrain rapid

niche shifts occurring during climate-induced range expansions. This represents

an exciting opportunity to contribute to scientific understanding of evolution

under environmental change and to develop knowledge to inform conservation and

management. Specifically, the project will investigate how shifts in a species’

resource use traits, climate tolerances, and dispersal abilities contribute to

niche evolution, and will seek to characterise evolutionary trade-offs among

these traits that my constrain a species’ ability to adapt to a

rapidly-changing world. There will be ample opportunity for the student to

propose and test their own hypotheses for niche evolution mechanisms,

incorporating additional processes and effects such as mating system evolution,

indirect genetic effects, epigenetics, etc., following the research interests

of the student.


The PhD project offers opportunity to learn a variety of important methods in

evolutionary biology, including experimental evolution/quantitative genetics

in lab-based organisms (using seed beetles, a currently evolving global crop pest),

individual-based modelling approaches, and offers opportunities for field

ecology approaches in northeast Scotland, to allow the student to become

familiar with evolutionary and ecological dynamics in wild, evolving insect


Funding Notes:

This project is eligible for the EASTBIO Doctoral Training Partnership:



This opportunity is only open to UK nationals (or EU students who have been

resident in the UK for at least three years immediately prior to the programme

start date) due to restrictions imposed by the funding body.



1. Bebber, D.P. et al. (2013) Crop pests and pathogens move polewards in a warming world.
Nature Climate Change 3: 985-988.
2. Ackerly, D.D. et al. (2006) Niche evolution and adaptive radiation: Testing the order of
trait divergence.
3. Tuda, M. et al. (2006) Evolutionary diversification of the bean beetle Callosobruchus
(Coleoptera: Bruchidae): traits associated with stored-product pest status. Molecular
Ecology 15: 3541-3551.
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