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Graduate Position in Marine Barcoding - University of Guelph &
Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada
We are seeking an enthusiastic Ph.D. student with an interest in applied evolutionary genetics
and taxonomy to conduct a DNA barcoding study on marine invertebrates as part of a large
multi-disciplinary network conducting studies on aquatic invasive species (Canadian Aquatic
Invasive Species Network, CAISN). This barcoding project is a collaborative one, involving
researchers at the University of Guelph, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and University of
Windsor. Excellent MSc candidates with undergraduate research experience will also be
Many global invaders are marine invertebrates such as crustaceans, molluscs, and ascidians
that often present taxonomic challenges, especially in early life history stages. DNA barcoding
has been identified as a robust, widely applicable method that could serve as an international
standard for the identification of aquatic invasive species on a global scale as it has practical
advantages over classical taxonomic methods. However, its utility for this purpose needs to be
validated—especially when invaders and co-occurring native species are very similar—and its
usefulness is a function of the availability of validated DNA barcoding datasets.
The successful candidate will apply DNA barcoding methods to generate essential baseline data
on invertebrate biodiversity in Canada’s coastal waters and will then evaluate the utility of this
approach for invasive species identification and detection. This project may also involve
generating molecular phylogenies based on multiple nuclear markers where needed to resolve
taxonomic uncertainties of important marine invaders. Species identifications will be obtained
in collaboration with taxonomic experts, and the relationship between cryptic species diversity
and body size will be explored using the resulting datasets.
We are looking for a highly motivated candidate who is interested in playing a substantial role
in developing novel research directions for this project, using the sequence data to address
exciting questions in ecology and/or evolution. Potential research topics include investigating
the phylogenetic distribution of “invasiveness”; analyzing molecular evolutionary rates across
different taxa; or comparing patterns of genetic diversity, species diversity, species
complementarity, and invasive species prevalence among regions.
The student will be co-advised by Dr. Sarah Adamowicz (University of Guelph) and Dr. Cathryn
Abbott (Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada) and will also collaborate with other DFO
and university researchers. The successful candidate will be based at the Pacific Biological
Station in Nanaimo, B.C. for a portion of the studentship. This position provides the opportunity
to conduct novel research in invasion biology, ecology, and evolution and will serve as an
outstanding training ground for those interested in governmental, academic, or private-sector
careers in biology and environmental science.
Stipend funding is available at NSERC network rates. Canadian citizens and permanent residents
are preferred as there are no project funds for international student fees. The project start date
is to be between May 2011 and January 2012. To be considered for this position please send
your CV, a brief summary of your research interests, and the names of at least two references
Sarah J. Adamowicz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Biodiversity Institute of Ontario
& Department of Integrative Biology
University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 2W1 Canada
Phone: +1 519 824-4120 ext. 53055
Fax: +1 519 824-5703
Office: Science Complex 1458
Lab: Science Complex 1403/1404