Plant Systematics position available

Susan T Meiers ST-Meiers at
Tue Sep 28 04:59:28 EST 2004

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 A PhD position is available at the Laboratory of Plant Systematics 
(K.U.Leuven; Belgium). The
successful applicant will work on a doctoral thesis in the context of the 
research project
‘Biogeography of Madagascar: origin and radiation of the Rubiaceae’ funded by 
the Flemish
Science Foundation (FWO-Vlaanderen). The project is a joined initiative of the 
Laboratory of
Plant Systematics (headed by Prof. Erik Smets) and the Department of Vascular 
Plants from the
National Botanic Garden of Belgium (headed by Prof. Elmar Robbrecht).

With ca. 650 described species (total estimated species number: 800-1,000) and 
94 genera
(of which 33 are endemic) the Rubiaceae are the second largest family of 
flowering plants in
Madagascar. They are present in all terrestrial niches, from the coastal dunes 
to the high
plateaus in the centre of the island, but are especially prominent in all 
forest types. Because
the Rubiaceae are also well represented in other tropical floras, the family is 
a prime study
group to clarify the origin and radiation of the floristic biodiversity of 
As the inventory of the Malagasy Rubiaceae is advancing rapidly, questions on 
the origin and
evolution of the Rubiaceae in Madagascar are becoming more relevant. How did
representatives of this large family reach the island? When and how did the 
introductions take
place? What are the closest relatives of the Malagasy Rubiaceae? And what are 
mechanisms driving the radiations that have taken place in many groups of 
In the project we aim to answer some of these questions by using molecular 
phylogenetic and
GIS techniques.

The PhD-position is funded by the FWO-Vlaanderen at ca. 1500 EUR per month. 
After an
evaluation period of 1 year, the position can be expanded up to 4 years. The 
position is
available from January 2005.
Foreigners are eligible to apply, but good English skills are necessary. The 
applicants should
have obtained a Masters in biology in the last three years. Since candidates 
will mainly be
using molecular phylogenetic and GIS techniques preference will be given to 
persons well-
trained in these fields. The succesfull candidate will be expected to finish 
his/her PhD-project
within the four years allotted.

To apply, please send cover letter, full CV, and 2
letters of recommendation by e-mail  to erik.smets at or by 
snail mail to
Prof. Erik Smets, Laboratory of Plant Systematics, Kasteelpark Arenberg 31, B-
3001 Leuven,
Belgium. The letters of recommendation can also be faxed (0032 16 32 19 68). 
Deadline: 15
October 2004.

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