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[Annelida] Postdoc needed

Ken Halanych halankm at smtpgate.duc.auburn.edu
Wed Oct 19 17:22:20 EST 2005

Postdoc postion at Auburn University-

I have a 12 month postdoc position to use molecular tools to work on  
annelid phylogeny. In particular, the position will focus on  
Ophryotrocha and other Dorvilleids living in sulphide rich  
environments. This is part of a project funded by the US National  
Science Foundation in collaboration with Lisa Levin of Scripps  
Institute of Oceanography. There will be opportunities to expand the  
scope of annelid based research conducted.  Ideally the successful  
person will be knowledgeable in annelid morphology, taxonomy and  
molecular phylogenetics.  However, all are encouraged to apply as the  
pool of people familiar with all these areas is quite limited. The  
position is available to be filled as soon as possible.

If you are interested email me. Please include a CV.

I have attached the grant abstract below.

Collaborative Research:
Metazoan Life at Extreme Sulfide Concentrations:
The Ecology and Evolution of Dorvilleidae at Methane Seeps

Project Summary
Millimolar H2S concentrations and the near absence of oxygen make  
methane seep
sediments one of the most toxic environments on earth, yet metazoan  
assemblages persist in
such settings.  In microbial-mat covered seeps on the upper slopes of  
the Pacific Northwest,
these assemblages are comprised nearly exclusively of dorvilleid  
polychaetes. At seeps
located within the oxygen minimum zone off the Oregon and California  
margins we have
identified up to 17 co-occurring dorvilleid species, including 10 in  
a single genus. We
hypothesize that this annelid group, through exceptional tolerance to  
low oxygen and high
sulfide concentrations, has found a suite of niches which it alone  
has been able to exploit,
and as a result has experienced evolutionary release in the absence  
of predators and
competitors.  Here we propose to use this dorvilleid assemblage as a  
model system with
which to investigate how metazoan communities evolve in and adapt to  
extreme sulfide
conditions. Integrated studies of the geochemical environment with  
dorvilleid ecology and
physiology will address mechanisms of niche partitioning and explore  
how communities are
organized under conditions of extreme sulfide stress.  Coordinated  
studies will be made of
oxygen and sulfide concentration in sediments, dorvilleid species  
distributions, reproductive
biology, and isotope- and molecular-based diet analyses. We will  
conduct species-level
physiological tests of sulfide tolerance and thiotrophic bacterial  
activity, and in situ
experiments to examine responses to sulfide gradients.  Studies of  
seep dorvilleid phylogeny
at several hierarchical levels will determine the evolutionary  
capabilities of these metazoans
to adapt to an extreme environment. By mapping ecological features  
onto a phylogenetic
framework, we will identify correlations among ecology, physiology,  
life history and
evolutionary history that help elucidate the mechanisms of speciation  
under extreme stress.
We anticipate that dorvilleid polychaetes will ultimately provide a  
superb metazoan model
for integrated extremophile research.

Broader Impacts:
  This groundbreaking research on how metazoans adapt and survive in  
sulfidic environments will further understanding of both early  
metazoan evolution and the
limits at which complex life can survive on this planet (and perhaps  
elsewhere).  This
multidisciplinary project will introduce undergraduate, graduate and  
postdoctoral students
and new faculty to other disciplines within biology by blending  
original methods and
questions in physiology, ecology, molecular biology and phylogeny.  
Students will gain
experience at sea and share in the process of discovery.  New  
partnerships will be
established among 4 universities and 5 PIs, most of whom have not  
worked together
previously. Results will be highlighted in a broad range of  
undergraduate and graduate
courses. The project involves several young academicians and a  
hearing-disabled graduate
student in the field of deep-sea biology as well as undergraduates  
recruited through diversity
programs. A partnership facilitated by California COSEE (Center for  
Ocean Science
Education Excellence) will allow us to pursue a rigorous education  
and outreach effort.
Emerging findings will be incorporated as part of a current NSF- 
funded Sea Floor Science
project (ISE #0229063) at the Ocean Institute.

Kenneth M. Halanych
Marine Biology Coordinator
Life Sciences Department
Rouse 101
Auburn University
Auburn, AL 36849


Phone: (334)-844-3222
Ken's Fax:   (334)-844-2333
Biology Fax (334)-844-1645
e-mail: ken at auburn.edu

Friday Harbor Evolution of Developmental Mechanisms Class 2001

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