The Challenge of Monitoring Biodiversity

Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:12:04 +0000

a guest blog by Charlie Outhwaite, written for the 2015 Write About Research Competition. Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is a complex term encompassing the variety of life found on Earth. It incorporates not only differences between species but within species themselves and of the environments and ecosystems where they are found. We as humans benefit […]

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NERC PhD Studentship: Sexual selection, meiotic drive and fertility in stalk-eyed flies

Application Deadline:  10 May 2013

This project integrates field and laboratory based research on sexual selection. Stalk-eyed flies are a canonical example of sexual selection. In Teleopsis dalmanni, males have exaggerated eyespan and females show strong mate preferences for males with larger eyespan. Females have low fertility despite mating at high rates and exhibiting strong mate preference for particular males. Some populations harbour an X-linked meiotic drive system that results in female biased broods due to the degeneration of Y-bearing sperm. This project will further examine the inter-relationships between sexual selection, fertility and meiotic drive. The student will determine the frequency of drive in natural populations at established sites in Malaysia, the role of ecology and demography, and the consequences for the strength of sexual selection. In the laboratory they will exploit SNP and other genomic markers in order to reliably genotype individuals and progeny for meiotic drive, and study the association of meiotic drive with male eyespan and other aspects of male reproductive performance.

The UCL stalk-eyed fly research group is led by Prof. A. Pomiankowski and Prof. K. Fowler and studies multiple facets of the evolution of sexually selected traits. Given the project’s reliance on data collected from natural populations, the attributes of the successful applicant will include independence, initiative and enthusiasm in order to cope with the demands of field research. Note that applicants must have a minimum 2:1 BSc (or equivalent), preferably a Masters level degree, excellent numerate skills (computational and statistical), knowledge of population genetics and bioinformatics. Appropriate training will be provided by UCL. The studentship is funded by NERC and applicants need to satisfy NERC’s UK/EU eligibility requirements. It may be possible to fully fund EU candidates as well.

Applications should be sent as soon as possible, with cover letter, CV & contact details of two referees, to the primary supervisor Professor A. Pomiankowski (email:

Closing date: 10th May 2013.

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