• Home
  • Resources
  • Jobs
  • Trent University: PhD project – Eco-evolutionary and conservation dynamics of desert succulents (Lithops spp.) from southern Africa

Trent University: PhD project – Eco-evolutionary and conservation dynamics of desert succulents (Lithops spp.) from southern Africa

18 Jan 2024 12:15 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

PictureThe Integrative Wildlife Conservation lab at Trent University, in collaboration with the Lithops Research and Conservation Foundation, is offering a unique PhD project on the eco-evolutionary and conservation dynamics of Lithops spp., a genus of small succulent plants occurring across desert landscapes in southern Africa. In the wild, Lithops are susceptible to human collection, habitat loss and climate change, and currently there are important knowledge gaps related to Lithops phylogeny and ecology that are impacting rigorous conservation status assessment and protection. The project involves several critical facets that are available for integration into a PhD thesis, including: 1) Genome sequencing to support re-assessment of Lithops phylogeny and evolutionary linkages; 2) Hyperspectral imaging to assess plant health and composition in relation to local environmental conditions; 3) Remote sensing to determine habitat suitability needs and potential for recolonization; 4) Population and meta-population viability analysis to assess scenarios for long-term persistence; and 5) Species distribution modeling to better understand potential responses of populations to climate change. The model for fieldwork will be L. schwantesii, which is among the most widespread and best-studied Lithops species; fieldwork is conducted in Namibia. The PhD student will have the opportunity to develop specific research questions within the scope of the larger project. 

Successful candidates MUST have an MSc in Ecology, Conservation Biology, or related field, demonstrated evidence of peer-reviewed publications, strong lab and field skills, and an interest in working collaboratively within a large and diverse research group. Additional desirable qualifications include DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, remote sensing and GIS analysis, and working in remote field conditions.  

To apply, send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, unofficial academic transcript, and contact information for 3 references to: Dennis Murray (dennismurray@trentu.ca). 

For additional details, see www.dennismurray.ca and www.lithopsfoundation.com.

The position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found. 

© Canadian Society of Plant Biologists

Corporate Sponsors

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software