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PhD Student Positions in Ecological Genomics

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Academic Level:
Graduate Students (PhD)

As part of a new, collaborative NSF-funded research and training program in the genomic ecology of coastal organisms, the Universities of Maine and New Hampshire seek a cohort of up to five new PhD students who will study genome-phenome relationships in the wild. All students will conduct both field work and genomic analyses towards understanding adaptation and fitness associations in several species of tidal marsh sparrows (see further details below). Field work during summer months may involve supervising field crews in tidal marshes across the Northeast US, from Maine to Virginia. Genomic analyses may include whole-genome sequencing, candidate gene sequencing, gene expression analyses, meta-barcoding, and microbiome characterization. All students will have the opportunity to work in collaboration with a diverse team of investigators, graduate students, and undergraduate students at both institutions.

Two students will be based at the University of Maine, investigating: 1. Ecological genomics of sparrow plumage, co-advised by Drs. Kristina Cammen ( and Brian Olsen ( through the Ecology and Environmental Sciences program at the University of Maine; 2. Ecological genomics of kidney function, advised by Dr. Benjamin King ( through the Molecular and Biomedical Sciences program at the University of Maine.

Three students will be based primarily at the University of New Hampshire, enrolled in the Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science (NRESS) program ( and advised by Dr. Adrienne Kovach (, investigating: 1) Genetic underpinnings of nesting adaptations and links between nesting traits and reproductive fitness; 2) Parallel evolution of broadscale genotype-phenotype-environment relationships in relation to tidal marsh adaptations; and 3) Fecal diet metabarcoding and eco-evolutionary feedbacks of trophic impacts on the marsh.

Qualifications: Successful candidates must have a strong background in ecology and/or genomics. Preferred candidates will have demonstrated experience with field work, in particular, bird mist-netting (previous time as a federal banding sub-permittee strongly preferred), as well as experience in genetics, genomics, and/or bioinformatics. Consistent with our program scope and to advance an integrated understanding of adaptation in nature, we are especially interested in candidates who show promise to work in an inclusive and diverse collaborative environment and to engage intellectually across the diverse scales of genomes, phenomes, and environmental feedbacks. Individuals who are intellectually curious, responsible, willing to learn, team-oriented, and have attention to detail are encouraged to apply. An M.S. in a related field is preferred, but qualified candidates with extensive experience will be considered.
accepts non-us citizens

Participating Institution(s):
(Click an institution to see all programs it hosts)
University of New Hampshire (Lead)
University of Maine

Program Materials:
 • Program Website 

This Program can be Described by:
Academic Disciplines:
Bioinformatics & Genomics
Conservation Biology & Wildlife
Ecology & Evolution
Genetics & Genomics
Molecular Biology

Collaborative Research
Comparative Genomics
Estuarine Science
Evolutionary Biology
Evolutionary Ecology
Evolutionary Genetics
Genomic Analysis

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This program is funded by:
National Science Foundation (NSF)

Page last updated 1/29/2020
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