[Annelida] Graduate & Postdoc Positions: WormNet - Annelid Tree of Life

Ken Halanych via annelida%40net.bio.net (by ken from auburn.edu)
Fri Nov 26 12:59:05 EST 2010

Graduate Positions and Postdoc Opportunities: WormNet II: Assembling the Annelid Tree of Life

An international collaborative research team is seeking graduate students and postdocs to participate in a large-scale project on annelid phylogeny under a recently awarded NSF Assembling the Tree of Life grant.


The team includes Ken Halanych and Scott Santos (Auburn University), Damhnait McHugh (Colgate University), Sam James (Kansas University), Anja Schulze (Texas A&M Galveston), Frank Anderson (Southern Illinois University), Christer Erséus (University of Gothenberg), Torsten Struck (University of Osnabrück) and Christoph Bleidorn (University of Leipzig). The public summary for the project is listed below.

Potential study areas include molecular and morphological phylogenetics, phylogenomics, bioinformatics, annelid biology, taxonomy and macroevolution.

There is the possibility to work between the above laboratories for cross training.


Public Summary:

The >16,000 recognized species of annelids exhibit immense morphological diversity and include such distinct groups as fireworms, earthworms, bloodworms, leeches, and many more. As sediment feeders, scavengers, and predators, annelids occupy terrestrial and aquatic habitats worldwide and are the most abundant fauna (larger than 1 mm) in the deep sea, Earth’s most extensive habitat. Annelids have economic importance as bait, pests, invasive species (e.g., oyster borers), and ecosystem engineers. Nonetheless, many fundamental questions about annelids remain unresolved because knowledge of their diversity and evolutionary history is lacking. To fill this gap, this international project will assemble the annelid family tree using a large-scale, multi-tiered approach. The oldest relationships will be examined with high-throughput genomic techniques. Recent relationships will be resolved with traditional DNA approaches and a community-based sequencing service that will examine approximately 3,000 species.

As one of the few segmented phyla, annelids are integral to the understanding of animal evolution. This project has significant interdisciplinary implications in fields such as developmental biology, paleontology, marine biology, physiology, and evolution. Specimens, data, and educational resources will be publicly available. Extensive human resource development includes training >25 undergraduates, >5 graduate students and >4 postdoctoral researchers at four institutions, and recruitment of underrepresented groups. K-12 outreach will foster broad scientific participation with the general public.


Those interested should contact one of the laboratories below (primary responsibilities listed in parentheses):

Dr. Anja Schulze - Texas A&M Galveston (will oversee the mitochondrial community-sequencing project and contribute to sequencing of nuclear genes)

            schulzea from tamug.edu



Dr. Frank Anderson - Southern Illinois University (will oversee collection of clathrin and ribonucleotide reductase small subunit sequences for non-clitellate annelids, prepare cDNA libraries for sequencing and share responsibility for mitochondrial community sequencing).

            feander from siu.edu



Dr. Scott Santos - Auburn University (will be responsible for the data pipelines, bioinformatic analyses, and database management)

            santos from auburn.edu



Dr. Ken Halanych - Auburn University (will be responsible for general oversight of the project, and will coordinate preparation of cDNA libraries and oversee next-generation sequencing)

            ken from auburn.edu



Kenneth M. Halanych
Alumni Professor
Marine Biology Coordinator
Biological Sciences Department
Life Sciences Bld. 101
Auburn University
Auburn, AL 36849


Phone: (334)-844-3222
Biology Fax (334)-844-1645
e-mail: ken from auburn.edu


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