Ecology and genomics of parallel speciation of cichlid fishes in Nicaraguan crater lakes

Abstract The crater lakes in Nicaragua each contain small adaptive radiations of endemic cichlid fish. The species in these lakes often look astonishingly similar (Elmer and Meyer 2011). These cases of parallel evolution are the focus of research in the Meyer-Lab and we are studying this phenomenon at different levels of biological organization.
We are looking for two PhD students to join our team who are interested in this from a (1) genetic (e.g., QTL-analyses) and genomic (e.g., comparative transcriptomics) perspective, and (2) an ecological/experimental viewpoint. The ecological genomics work aims to discover the genetic basis of (parallel) adaptations and next the functional characterization of candidate genes. This approach involves next-generation DNA sequencing technologies (Illumina and Roche FLX platforms) in the Genomics Center Konstanz and evo-devo work using transgenic model fish (e.g., zebrafish and medaka). We also plan to conduct mark-recapture studies and other ecological work in crater lakes in Nicaragua and are looking for a Spanish-speaking student who would work for longer periods of time in Nicaragua.

Keywords sympatric speciation, parallel evolution, ecological genomics, evo-devo, transgenics, next-generation sequencing

Main advisor Axel Meyer, University of Konstanz

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