Positions by 99Science

The Whelan Lab at Auburn University and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Conservation Genetics Lab (SECGL) are seeking graduate student applications for the MSc or PhD degree to study freshwater invertebrate evolution and conservation. At least one MSc and one PhD position will be available to start in January or August 2022. Potential masters and PhD projects include conservation genetics and molecular ecology of freshwater mollusks, phylogenetics and systematics of freshwater gastropods, and phylogenomics of Myxobolidae fish parasites. Students will work in museum, lab, and field environments. SECGL is a joint U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Auburn University research lab.

We are located in Swingle Hall on Auburn University’s main campus. Our research includes both basic and applied science, and students work in an academic research environment while collaborating with government researchers and on-the-ground conservation scientists. Students will have the opportunity to work directly with conservation practitioners and perform cutting-edge research.

Current research projects in the lab include (1) phylogenomics of freshwater gastropods, with an emphasis on Pleuroceridae, (2) conservation genomics and molecular ecology of freshwater mollusks, including threatened and endangered mussels and snails, (3) taxonomy of terrestrial snails, freshwater mussels, and freshwater snails, (4) freshwater gastropod life history evolution, and (5) taxonomy of metazoan fish and mollusk parasites. We also work with the National Fish Hatchery program and use genetic data to evaluate and improve hatchery efforts.

SECGL has outstanding facilities, equipment, and capacity for lab- and field-based research. We have all the equipment needed for next-generation library prep and other molecular data generation, including an Agilent Fragment Analyzer, Blue Pippen, Quibit, and Opentrons OT-2 liquid handling robot. We also have multiple computers for bioinformatics (e.g., an 80-core, 512GB RAM machine) and access to additional computing resources through Auburn University and the Alabama Supercomputer Authority. The lab has a 4WD SUV and other equipment for fieldwork. Auburn University is a public land-, sea-, and space-grant institution with internationally recognized research and academics. Auburn and nearby Opelika, Alabama are vibrant towns with excellent quality of life and a relatively low cost of living. GRA Stipends and Start Dates: Students will receive a stipend of $1,900/month and a tuition waiver. Available start dates are January 2022 or August 2022.

Successful applicants will have a strong interest in freshwater mollusks, evolutionary biology, and genomics-based research such as phylogenomics and population genomics. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required. Prior experience with freshwater mollusks, molecular data generation, and bioinformatics is not required, especially for potential masters students. To apply: Send a letter of interest, current CV, contact information for 2-3 references, and unofficial transcripts to: Dr. Nathan Whelan, nathan_whelan@fws.gov. Members of historically underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged to apply. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, and the position may be filled prior to the application deadline in this annoucement.

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