PhD position available in sponge deep-sea biology

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This post refers to a joint PhD appointment at the Natural History Museum of London (Life Sciences Department) and the Uppsala University (Department of Medicinal Chemistry) in the area of Evolution and ecology of marine sponges:

PhD-candidate in deep-sea sponge biology
Natural History Museum of London and the Uppsala University
Life Sciences Department (NHM)– Medicinal Chemistry (UU)

Salary per annum: £16,296
The position will be held during four years mainly at the Natural History Museum of London, which is one of top research institutes in Europe. The collective expertise of NHM staff represents a unique national and international resource. The scientific staff is one of the largest expert bodies of its kind in the world, with approximately 300 scientists working with an equivalent number of scientific associates, students, visitors and volunteers. Their activities span the earth and life sciences with fields of expertise that include planetary sciences, mineralogy, palaeontology, taxonomy, systematics, biodiversity, genomics, and informatics.
Project description
PhD-project: Reproductive ecology and genetic connectivity in deep-sea sponges of the North Atlantic: assessment of dispersal and evolutionary patterns
As part of EU Horizon2020 project:
SponGES – Deep-sea Sponge Grounds Ecosystems of the North Atlantic:
an integrated approach towards their preservation and sustainable exploitation

Deep-sea sponge-dominated communities or sponge grounds of the North Atlantic are threatened by several anthropogenic activities, which could be affecting their abundance, structure, and, as a result, their reproductive and dispersal potential and ability to survive. Understanding the processes behind the maintenance and regeneration of populations is critical for predicting the magnitude of natural or anthropogenic impacts and estimating the capability of populations to recover. The main aim of this part of the project is to describe patterns of evolution, distribution and connectivity of deep-sea sponge populations and both the ecological and historical processes behind their maintenance and regeneration.


Within this framework, we are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate to work on the assessment of life cycles and dispersal abilities of deep-sea sponges and the development of a suite of transcriptomic (RNAseq) and genomic (RADseq) resources to evaluate evolutionary patterns and genetic connectivity and diversity of deep-sea populations. Overall, the PhD student will have the opportunity to explore the evolution and impact of sexual reproduction in sponges.
The PhD candidate must have:
– MSc in Marine Ecology/Biology and/or Cell Biology;
– Proven skills in scientific writing and knowledge of statistics and R;
– Experience in fieldwork on research vessels, and high motivation to work under greatly demanding conditions;

– Experience working with molecular biology of marine invertebrates;

– Ability to work combining multidisciplinary techniques;
– Skills in bioinformatics or familiarity with Unix environment are appreciated;

The position will start preferably 1 May 2016 and will continue for a maximum period of 4 years, including an initial probation period of 6 months.
Job application
Applications should include a detailed CV, transcripts for all subjects, the Master thesis, a motivation letter, and the names and contact addresses of two references from which information about the candidate can be obtained.
Applications should be sent before 24 March 2016 to: and

Interviews will be held by skype in the 1st week of April 2016.
Further information
Dr. Ana Riesgo:


Dr. Paco Cárdenas:

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