A Ph.D. scholarship (Multivariate Evolution: Experimental evolution of multiple trait interactions under changed environments) is available for a first class student starting in 2015 or 2016 at the Waurn Ponds (Centre for Integrative Ecology) campus of Deakin University.
The research takes advantage of John Endler‘s long term experimental evolution project which investigates multivariate evolution of male colour pattern components, female colour preferences and colour vision in 12 guppy mesocosms under three different light environments.
General topic: Quantitative genetics of experimental evolution of colour patterns and behaviour in guppies and its relationship to trait functions and functional interactions.
General aims: To examine the pattern, processes and causes of evolution of the G-matrix (genetic variance-covariance matrix) of multiple colour pattern components and their links to mate choice behaviour in populations which are actively evolving under different visual conditions. We are explicitly interested in the pattern and process of multivariate evolution under divergent environmental conditions.
Questions include: What are the effects of correlational selection on the G-matrix? Does the form of the G-matrix influence multivariate evolution in the predicted ways? You can also investigate the causes of correlational selection, for example: Does correlational selection of colour pattern components result from their interacting effects on chromatic and luminance contrast and hence on their efficacy as visual signals?
There are a lot of different possible avenues of research so long as they investigate the patterns and process of multivariate evolution; I encourage all my students to follow the lines most interesting to them provided it is practical in the 3 years of research.
If you are interested in any aspect of this, please email John A. Endler at John.Endler@deakin.edu.au.
Eligibility requirements (In addition to the general PhD requirements at Deakin): You will need some experience with quantitative genetics techniques and some multivariate statistics. Experience with MATLAB or R analysis is particularly welcome.
First preference will be given to Australian citizens or permanent residents but if no appropriate candidates apply, the fellowship will be given to the best non-Australian who applies.
You should be able to provide a very strong undergraduate record and letters of recommendation. Unlike other Australian scholarships, John does not expect you to have published any papers.
However, you should definitely show your merit in your undergraduate record and letters of recommendation. These documents should also show that you are creative, original, innovative, and analytic rather than just a technician or a paper mill.
Stipend: Standard APA rate ($25,849 in 2015) with standard conditions in regards to extensions and other allowances.
Dates and details: The closing date for applications is 1 July 2015. The successful applicant should start no later than February or March 2016, sooner if possible.
For more information on any aspect of the scholarship, please email John at John.Endler@deakin.edu.au. For information about the Centre for Integrative ecology, please visit the CIE website.