PhD position Evolutionary Ecology

Stockholm University
Full Time
3 weeks ago

The new PhD project will focus on the evolution of life cycle timing in situations where insect species show rapid distributional changes as well as shifts in the number of annual generations, i.e. when there are shifts in voltinism. These two phenomena, range shifts and voltinism shifts, are common consequences of climate change affecting insects and they both induce strong gradients of selection on seasonal life cycle regulation and life history traits. The project aims at testing general predictions from life history theory and explore phenotypic and genetic footprints of selection that are associated with life cycle regulation in these situations. In particular the new project aims at exploring Ecological genetics and genomics of seasonal life cycle regulation and will explore the genomic background and genetic architecture of adaptations for seasonal plasticity using three different species of butterflies that are well established ecological models in the Gotthard lab. We aim to test fitness effects of this genetic variation in both field and laboratory experiments. The project will build on existing ecological knowledge, well developed laboratory and field methods, as well as genomic resources that are in place for all three species. The specific research direction for the PhD project can be discussed in relation to the interests and skills of the new student. We expect the project to provide novel insights into ecological and evolutionary consequences of climate change on traits that are central for the persistence of natural populations.

The project will contain aspects of both field and laboratory work to study the ecology, genetics and genomics of life cycle timing of temperate butterflies. In collaboration with other group members the prospective student will sample replicated populations (across Scandinavia and Europe) and do controlled laboratory studies of how phenotypic adaptations and associated genetic variation is changing across gradients of selection. The genetics will be studied by quantitative genetic methods, selection experiments as well as functional genomics, including the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to manipulate already established candidate genes. Finally, we will use reciprocal transplant experiments in outdoor cages to test the adaptive significance of local difference in these adaptations.

We are looking for candidates with a strong interest in evolutionary ecology, genetics and life history theory, with excellent analytical skills and experience with quantitative analyses of life history traits and genetics. Experience in working with insects in the lab and in the field, as well as having a valid driver’s license, is especially meriting. To be eligible you need to have a research degree (e.g. Master), or equivalent experience when starting the position.

Applications are received through the ReachMee portal of Stockholm University.

Application deadline is February 15, 2023

For more information, please contact Professor Karl Gotthard (

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