Postdoc or PhD studentship opportunity: fur seal genomics

An outstanding opportunity is available either for a postdoc (≤3.5 years) or for a Ph.D. studentship (3 years) to work on the ecological and evolutionary genomics of fur seals in the Hoffman lab. The position is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the recently approved collaborative research centre (SFB/TRR 212) entitled: A Novel Synthesis of Individualisation across Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC3).

The aim of this project (sub-project A01 of the collaborative research centre) is to determine how fitness variation is shaped by interactions between individual genetic quality (inbreeding) and the social environment within breeding colonies. To tackle this question, we will collect highly detailed observational and biometric time-series data from mother-offspring pairs in two neighbouring colonies of high and low social density. We will then dissect apart the mechanistic underpinnings of fitness variation using a combination of endocrinological and immunological profiling, gene expression profiling, high-density SNP genotyping and methylation profiling.  The result will be an unprecedentedly detailed understanding of the behavioural, physiological and genetic mechanisms underpinning fitness variation in a wild vertebrate, which will have important implications for understanding ecological and evolutionary dynamics as well as adaptation to climate change.

Postdoc applicants: We seek a bright and highly motivated postdoc with a strong PhD in a relevant topic (e.g. population genetics, behavioural genetics, evolutionary or conservation genomics). We are looking for two main attributes in particular: (i) The candidate must have a deep understanding as well as practical experience of working with genomic data (experience of gene expression profiling and / or whole-genome resequencing would be particularly desirable) and be proficient in writing custom scripts and working in Unix and R; (ii) As the project involves two field seasons at South Georgia in the South Atlantic, the candidate would ideally also have experience of fieldwork with vertebrates. Experience of working with long-term individual-based datasets from wild animal populations would be advantageous but is not a requirement.

Ph.D. applicants: Bright and highly motivated Ph.D. candidates should hold a B.Sc. or equivalent in a relevant topic (e.g. population genetics, behavioural genetics, evolutionary or conservation genomics). An M.Sc. would also be advantageous but is not necessary. Strong quantitative skills (including proficiency in R) as well as practical experience of working with next generation sequence data (e.g. gene expression profiling or related approaches) would be desirable, but training can be provided.

The deadline for applications is April 14th 2018. All materials should be e-mailed as a single PDF to: with ‘Postdoc / PhD studentship application’ (delete as applicable) in the subject line.

Please see the attached PDF for more details about the position and do not hesitate to contact me with any questions at joseph.hoffman[at]