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Bournemouth, UK: PhD, human biogeography PDF Tisk Email
Human Biogeography: Comparative Phylogeography of Modern Humans and
Other Organisms
 Aims and Rationale - We will compare the published phylogeographies
(genetic biogeographies) of modern humans with those of other vertebrates
to elucidate the patterns of population movement in the past. 
science of phylogeography provides an understanding of the population
dynamics of species in relation to landscape, climate and human related
processes over the last 50 thousand years. Species respond to these
processes individually, for example using different refugia at different
times. The location of these refugia is also determined by the geography
and topography of the landscape. Phylogeography can be used to identify
the location of these species refugia and/or the place of origin of
domestic / commensal species.
Methods - Phylogeographic studies have been performed on organisms as
varied as red deer, trout, snails, oak trees, ferns and bacterial and
viral pathogens like Black Death and Rabies. Studies have also been done
on domestic (sheep, cattle, wheat) and commensal (house mouse, black rat)
plants and animals. The data from most of these studies are deposited on
GenBank (a freely accessible online database). The project will analyse
such data to look at the various patterns seen in each species which
can then be grouped by similarity according to geographical and genetic
diversity indices. These will include the likely divergence dates of the
diversity as well as the topology of the species' phylogenetic tree or
network diagrams. The data will also be analysed using GIS and associated
geospacial statistics to help identify the place of origin and source
of spread of populations.
Hypotheses: Human phylogeographic patterns in Europe that relate to
Upper Palaeolithic distribution change will generally have a North/South
distribution similar to wild species coming out of ice age climate
refugia. Those patterns with an East/West distribution will be similar
to taxa whose climate refugia was in the East (or South East) or to that
of domestic/commensal plants and animals whose origins lay in the South
East, representing Neolithic or later distribution change.
Clearly defined outputs - The outputs would include a paper submitted
to a high impact journal (Nature, Science, PNAS) summarising the general
results of the project. A further three papers are envisaged in subject
specific journals like Molecular Ecology, Journal of Human Evolution
and the Journal of Biogeography. The results of the work will also
be presented at international meetings such as that of the Society
of Molecular Biology and Evolution, the European Society of Human
Evolution etc.
Academic Impact
Stewart's paper in Science which looks at Late Pleistocene Humans outside
of Africa in relation to the biogeographical patterns of other organisms
suggests that there would be an appetite amongst the people in the human
evolution community for such an analysis. The research will have an impact
on biological anthropology (human evolution), biogeography and molecular
ecology thanks to the production of a minimum of 4 publications as well
as the participation at international conferences (see above).
The evolution and population genetics (phylogeography) of humans receives
a disproportionate amount of attention. Other organisms, although they
do not receive the same depth of attention as humans represent the
breadth of possible patterns and corresponding processes that can exist
in organisms over these time scales. Comparing the genetic patterns in
humans with those in other organisms will help identify similarities
and differences between them. The ecological and general biological
characteristics of similar and differing species' patterns will help
reduce the possible explanations for those patterns. For example humans
are widespread geographically similar to wolves, ravens and pike but their
phylogeographic patterns are different which may be driven by different
limitations on their  dispersals or the length of time since dispersal.
Societal Impact
The evolution of humans receives a lot of media coverage and Stewart
is regularly interviewed by the media on this topic, both relating to
his own research and that of other scientists (e.g. New Scientist, BBC
World Service). The response of organisms to climate change is also
of great interest to the public and receives a corresponding amount
of media attention in light of current climatic changes and species'
range shifts. The proposed project will undoubtedly have a significant
impact due to the public interest it generates.
The understanding of population dynamics in species is important to future
conservation of biotas, so the proposed project will have an important
contribution to make to conservation planning. Stewart was involved in
a Natural England consultancy project looking at the identification of
future climate refugia and guide strategy. The proposed project will
enhance the likelihood of the supervisory team, as well as the PhD
student, being involved in such initiatives in the future which seem to
be increasingly on the agenda of NDPDs (Natural England) and NGOs (RSPB)
and which will likely influence UK government policy-makers. Such project
will have the potential to be used as case impact for the REF2020.
Training Opportunities
The student will come away from this project with a unique skill set
that bridges a number of important fields in modern day science such as
biogeography, molecular ecology as well as human evolution.
1) The student will get training in performing analysis of molecular
data (tree and network construction, BEAST etc.) as well as innovative
meta-analytical methods developed by Stewart and Hardouin to analyse
data from GenBank. The student will be trained in laboratory techniques
used in analyses such as PCR, sequencing, electrophoresis and will likely
take part in house mouse phylogeographic analyses (Hardouin). There will
also be an opportunity for aDNA training with Richards in Huddersfiled
University in his Leverhulm Trust funded Doctoral Scholarship Centre in
Evolutionary Genomics.
2) The student will be trained in the essential tools of modern
biogeography and conservation: statistical techniques and GIS methods
for exploring species' responses to climatic and anthropogenic changes
3) The student will also receive training in relevant human evolutionary
First Supervisor
Dr John Stewart
Additional Supervisors
Emilie Hardouin
Rick Stafford
External Supervisor: Prof. Martin Richards, Huddersfiled University
Recent publications by supervisors relevant to this project
Stewart, J.R. and Stringer, C. B., 2012. Human Evolution Out of
Africa: The Role of Refugia and Climate Change. Science, 335 (6074),
1317-1321. (IF- 31.48).
Brace, S.; Palkopoulou, E.; Dal�n, L.; Lister, .M.; Miller, R. ;
Otte, M. ; Germonprďż˝, M.; Blockley, S.P.E. ; Stewart, J.R. & Barnes,
I. 2012. Serial population extinctions in a small mammal indicate Late
Pleistocene ecosystem instability. Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences 109(50): 20532-6. (IF: 9.809).
Lagerholm, V.K., Sandoval-Castellanos, E., Ehrich, D., Abramson, N.I.,
Nadachowski, A., Kalthoff, D.K., Germonpr�, M., Angerbj�rn, A., Stewart,
J.R., Dal�n, L. 2014. On the origin of the Norwegian lemming. Molecular
Ecology. doi:10.1111/mec.12698 (IF: 5.52).
Stewart, J.R., Barnes, I., Lister, A.M. and Dal�n,
L. 2010. Refugia Revisited: Individualistic responses in space and
time. Proc. Roy. Soc. B. 277: 661 - 671. (IF: 5.683).
Hardouin EA, Orth A, Teschke M, Tautz D, Bonhomme F: Worldwide mouse
differentiation at microsatellite loci identifies the Iranian plateau as a
phylogeographic hotspot. Accepted in BMC Evolutionary Biology (IF: 3.41).
Hardouin EA, Tautz D: High mitochondrial mutation rates after an island
colonization event - selection or near-neutrality? Biology Letters 2013,
doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.1123. (IF: 3.35)
Linnenbrink M, Wang J, Hardouin EA, K�nzel K, Metzler D, Baines JF: The
role of biogeography in shaping diversity of the intestinal microbiota
in house mice. Molecular Ecology 2013, doi: 10.1111/mec.12206. (IF: 5.52).
Myles S, Lea AR, Ohashi J, Chambers KG, Weiss GJ, Hardouin E, Engelken J,
Macartney-Coxson PD, Eccles AD, Naka I, Kimura R, Inaoka T, Matsumura Y,
Stoneking M: Testing the thrifty gene hypothesis: the Gly482Ser variant
in PPARGC1A is associated with BMI in Tongans. BMC Medical Genetics 2011,
12:10doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-10. (IF: 2.33).
Stafford R., Smith V.A., Husmeier D. Grima T. and Guinn
B. 2013. Predicting ecological regime shift under climate change:
new modelling and molecular-based approaches. Current Zoology. 59:
403-417. (F: 1.81)
Stafford R., Goodenough A.E. and Hart A.G. 2013. A visual
method to identify significant latitudinal changes in species'
distributions. Ecological Informatics.15: 74-84. (IF: 1.980)
Pala, M., Olivieri, A., Achilli, A., Accetturo, M., Metspalu, E., Reidla,
M., Tamm, E., Karmin, M., Reisberg, T., Hooshiar Kashani, B., Perego,
U.A., Carossa, V., Gandini, F., Pereira, J.B., Soares, P., Angerhofer,
N., Rychkov, S., Al-Zahery, N., Carelli, V., Sanati, M.H., Houshmand,
M., Hatina, J., Macaulay, V., Pereira, L., Woodward, S.R., Davies, W.,
Gamble, C., Baird, D., Semino, O., Villems, R., Torroni, A., Richards,
M.B. (2012). Mitochondrial DNA signals of Late Glacial re-colonisation of
Europe from Near Eastern refugia. The American Journal of Human Genetics
90: 915-924. (IF: 10.987 )
Mellars, P., Gori, K., Carr, M., Soares, P., Richards M.B. (2013) Genetic
and archaeological perspectives on the initial modern human colonization
of southern Asia. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110:10699-10704. (IF: 9.809)
Costa, M.D., Pereira, J.B., Pala, M., Fernandes, V., Olivieri, A.,
Achilli, A., Perego, U., Rychkov, Y., Naumova, O., Hatina, J., Woodward,
S.R., Eng, S., Macaulay, V., Carr, M., Soares, P., Pereira L., Richards,
M.B. (2013) A substantial prehistoric European ancestry amongst Ashkenazi
maternal lineages. Nature Communications, 4: 2543. (IF: 10.742)
Please feel free to contact John Stewart via email -

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  for queries related to the research
project. ELIGBILITY CRITERIA All candidates must satisfy the University's
minimum doctoral entry criteria for studentships of an honours degree at
Upper Second Class (2:1) and/or an appropriate Masters degree. An IELTS
(Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (or PhD Studentship Project Description
March 2015 equivalent) is essential for candidates for whom English is
not their first language
The ideal candidate should have GIS skills, quantitative ecological
modelling skills and field research skills and an MSc/ MRes degree in a
related field. This project requires somebody who is confident in working
in an African Savannah habitat and has the maturity to deal with field
work under sometimes difficult conditions, to manage a research project
if required, and who can work independently in the field. Field work
experience will therefore be expected. HOW TO APPLY Please complete
the BU Research Degree Application 2015 and submit it via email to the
Postgraduate Research Administrator for Admissions Suzy Kempinski -

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  by 1 May 2015. Further information on
the application process can be found at www.bournemouth.ac.uk/phd-2015
Dr. Emilie Hardouin
Associate lecturer in Conservation Genetics
Bournemouth University
Faculty of Science and Technology
Christchurch House
Talbot Campus
Dorset BH12 5BB
United Kingdom
Tel: +0044 (0)1202 962402
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Emilie Hardouin <
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