A postdoctoral position is available in the Rosenzweig Lab in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Montana. The project, led by Matthew Herron, uses experimental evolution to explore fundamental questions in the evolution of multicellular development. Applicants should have a Ph.D. in biology or a related field and a track record of high-quality publications. Additional desirable qualifications include experience with experimental microbial evolution, molecular biology and next-generation data analysis, and the model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The successful candidate will join a multi-institutional collaboration, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, whose focus is on the origin and evolution of multicellular complexity. Research partners include Michael Travisano, Mark Borrello, and Will Soto at U Minnesota; and Will Ratcliff at Georgia Tech. Funding will be available for travel to annual meetings of the research partners at U Minnesota. At U Montana, the successful candidate will join the robust and collaborative Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics Group, a diverse group of UM faculty using genetic and genomic approaches to investigate evolutionary processes in plants, animals, and microbes
Experimental evolution of multicellularity
The evolution of multicellularity was transformative in the diversity of life; virtually all life visible to the naked eye is multicellular. Life on earth would be dramatically different, and morphologically depauperate, if multicellularity had not evolved. The central question in this proposal is: Why is the evolution of multicellularity so repeatable? We have used the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to experimentally generate de novo origins of simple (undifferentiated) multicellularity in two separate experiments. The first is described in Ratcliff, W.C., Herron, M.D., Howell, K., Pentz, J.T., Rosenzweig, F. and Travisano, M. 2013. Nature Communications, 4: 2742. Current research focuses on the evolution of multicellularity in response to filter-feeding predators. Results from these experiments will be compared with those from similar experiments using other experimental organisms to address the following questions:
< >How readily does multicellularity evolve?What is the tempo and mode in the first steps in the evolutionary transition to multicellularity?Does evolutionary ancestry substantially impact multicellular adaptability?
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