Research Associate in Phenotypic Plasticity and Cichlid Fish Adaptive Radiation

Bristol, United Kingdom
£33,199 - £37,345
25 Nov 2018
End of advertisement period
06 Jan 2019
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

Division/School School of Biological Sciences
Contract type Open Ended
Working pattern Full time
Salary £33,199 - £37,345
Closing date for applications 06-Jan-2019

Full time NERC funded Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol.

Can phenotypic plasticity and DNA methylation promote adaptive radiation?

The School of Biological Sciences is seeking a postdoctoral researcher to take a key role in a NERC funded project investigating the roles of phenotypic plasticity and DNA methylation during adaptive radiation, focussing on the cichlid fish model system. The objective of the project is to test core principles of this “plasticity first” idea using the Eastern Happy (Astatotilapia calliptera), a phenotypically variable, genomically well characterised, and experimentally tractable cichlid fish species within the Lake Malawi radiation.

The project is a partnership between the University of Bristol (Prof. Martin Genner; Dr Jon Bridle) and Bangor University (Prof. George Turner), with support from project partners in the Malawi Fisheries Research Unit (Dr Harold Sungani), the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (Dr Semvua Mzighani) and the University of Cambridge (Prof. Eric Miska; Prof. Richard Durbin).

We will test: i) whether plasticity in traits present among wild populations can direct genetically driven trait divergence, ii) whether patterns of DNA methylation are repeated in parallel cases of ecomorphological trait divergence, iii) if differential gene expression is linked to methylation during divergence events, and iv) if DNA methylation shows transgenerational stability in fish within stable environments.

This project will provide key insights into the role of plasticity and DNA methylation in vertebrate evolution. The project will focus on both wild caught and laboratory reared specimens and quantify morphology using micro-CT scans and geometric morphometrics. Epigenetic variation will be quantified using a combination of reduced-representation and whole genome bisulphite sequencing, while gene expression will be quantified using RNAseq.

Candidates should have a doctoral degree. They should also have an aptitude for experimental design, and enthusiasm for fieldwork and analyses of complex data. Candidates should have experience of molecular laboratory work, and knowledge of bioinformatics tools. The position is for 36 months, is based at the University of Bristol.

The closing date for application is 6th January 2019.

For informal enquiries please contact Prof. Martin Genner (

We appreciate and value difference, seeking to attract, develop and retain a diverse mix of talented people that will contribute to the overall success of Bristol and help maintain our position as one of the world’s leading universities.

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