We have an opening for a fixed-term post-doctoral researcher to join a research team working on evolutionary genetics of the tawny owl Strix aluco. The project is funded by the Academy of Finland and is based at the University of Turku (Jon Brommer) with collaborators in NOVIA University of Applied Sciences (Patrik Karell), Lund University (Jan-Åke Nilsson) and Linköping University (Dominic Wright).
Tawny owls display a highly heritable plumage colour polymorphism associated with differences in a suite of traits. The colour polymorphism is due to irreversible melanin deposition in plumage feathers, is independent of age and sex, and shows high heritability (80-90%) putatively inheriting as a single Mendelian locus with brown allele dominant over grey allele. Previous work has demonstrated that the survival of the dark morph is particularly low under harsh winter condition and suggests that a dramatic increase of the dark morph in the past decades observed in Finland is a microevolutionary response to winters becoming warmer (Karell et al. 2011, Nat. Comm). This project aims to resolve the genetic basis underlying the tawny owl colour polymorphism and to link molecular genetic information to spatial and temporal changes in tawny owl morph frequencies as well as to explore a putative functional genetic basis of morph-fitness associations presumably driven by pleiotropy. We are recruiting a postdoctoral researcher to contribute to all of these aspects.
Essential qualifications for all applicants will include: 1) a PhD degree obtained on work in molecular genetics; 2) evidence of research productivity, with publications in the peer-reviewed literature; and 3) good communication skills, with fluency in English. Desired qualifications will include technical skills in one or more of the following areas: 1) bioinformatic analyses of Next Generation Sequence data; 2) genome construction; and 3) analysis of gene expression data.