» Jobs » PhD in weed evolutionary ecology with University of Copenhagen, Plant & Environmental Sciences in Copenhagen, Denmark

PhD in weed evolutionary ecology with University of Copenhagen, Plant & Environmental Sciences in Copenhagen, Denmark

Type of position 3-year fully-funded PhD studentship
Employer University of Copenhagen, Plant & Environmental Sciences
Location Copenhagen, Denmark
Salary 330,817 Danish krone per year ($53,402)
Benefits 17.5% pension included
Closing date of competition 20 June 2021
Date position available 1 November 2021
Description of duties Weedy plants can cause more crop yield loss than insect pests and pathogens combined. We still do not fully understand why some plants become successful weeds, but the ability to rapidly adapt in managed agricultural habitats is clearly important. Alopecurus myosuroides (blackgrass) is one of Europe’s most troublesome weeds, including in Denmark. This PhD addresses two important questions; (i) why has blackgrass become a major weed problem in the last 30-40 years in Europe and (ii) why is the species present as a non-weedy bystander in other global agroecosystems?

To address these questions, you will have access to a global collection of weedy and non-weedy blackgrass populations and to a recently completed reference genome. You will conduct classical plant ecological (common garden and reciprocal transplant) field experiments to measure phenotypic variation in traits that determine competitiveness and weediness in blackgrass, comparing these traits in global weedy and non-weedy populations. You will sample plant tissue, extract high-quality DNA, and outsource genome sequencing services that enable plant genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS). These sequencing data will be analysed using open-source population genetics software to explore patterns of genetic differentiation within and amongst global blackgrass populations and to infer patterns of relatedness, evolution, and dispersal.

As a PhD student in the weed ecology and evolution group, you will carry out exciting research to answer questions about the evolution of one of the world’s most economically damaging plants. You will receive training in plant ecology and evolution, plant molecular biology, and statistical population genetics. You will work closely with postdoctoral scientists in the group (weed ecology, evolution, and genetics) and collaborate with the International Weed Genomics Consortium (https://www.weedgenomics.org/) of which University of Copenhagen is a research partner.

Qualifications sought The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are: 

  • To manage and complete your research project (literature review and summary, generation of objectives and hypothesis, experimental design, data collection, analysis and interpretation)
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Work for the department if suitable opportunities arise

Formal requirements
Applicants should hold an MSc degree in plant, environmental/ecological, agricultural or biotechnological science with good results and good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience. Candidates with experience in plant ecology and/or plant production, basic plant molecular biology and appropriate data analytical techniques will be given priority.

Contact for additional information Paul Neve (pbneve@plen.ku.dk)
Application procedure  
Submit what Details of the application procedure are provided at (https://employment.ku.dk/phd/?show=154036).
Submit to Details of the application procedure are provided at (https://employment.ku.dk/phd/?show=154036).
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