Phenotypic plasticity of an alpine plant in response to temperature (** POSTDOC and PHD POSITIONS AVAILABLE **)

Multi-trait plasticity in response to a changing climate: PostDoc and PhD positions

Positions for a PostDoctoral fellow and a PhD student are available in the Division of Evolution and Ecology at the Australian National University, to study multi-trait phenotypic plasticity of an alpine plant in response to warming temperatures.

Phenotypic plasticity - the ability to change phenotype with environment - is the most important process determining the immediate response of natural populations to environmental change. However studies of plasticity frequently rely on simplifying assumptions, and an understanding of the genomic and epigenomic mechanisms underlying plasticity is only just emerging. Using large-scale temperature-manipulation experiments an Australian alpine herb, the waxy bluebell (Wahlenbergia ceracea), the project will combine state-of-the-art genomic and multivariate statistical analyses to determine whether multi-trait phenotypic plasticity is adaptive, whether it can evolve, and what are the (epi)genomic mechanisms driving it. The ultimate aim is both to explore fundamental ecological and evolution­ary questions and to provide insights into the impact of environmental change on alpine flora.

The posts constitute an exciting opportunity for highly-motivated postdoctoral and PhD researchers with experience and interest in evolutionary ecology and/or quantitative genetic analyses. They will involve training in leading-edge techniques in three specialist areas: multivariate statistical analyses, plant thermal biology, and epigenomics.

The project is funded by an Australia Research Council Discovery Project to Profs Loeske Kruuk and Adrienne Nicotra (ANU). Epigenomic analyses will be conducted in collabora­tion with AProf Christina Richards at the University of South Florida.  There will be extensive opportunities for further collaboration, high-profile publications, development of technical skills and career development, and wider interactions with the active and supportive research environment at ANU.

Applicants for the post-doctoral position should possess (or be nearing completion of) a PhD in a relevant area of evolutionary ecology or genetics. They should have strong skills in complex statistical analyses and ideally familiarity mixed model analyses; experience of research on phenotypic plasticity, plant physiology and/or epigenetics would be useful but is not essential. Applicants should also be able to demonstrate excellent communication and writing skills and a strong track record of publication in academic journals. The position is available for 30 months, ideally starting in February 2018. The starting salary will be $75,297-$86,646 p.a. (+17% superannuation). For further information, please contact or

Suitable applicants for the PhD position need to be highly motivated with strong academic and research backgrounds; ecological and evolutionary genetics and/pr plant physiology are highly desirable, as is independent research experience. The project will apply techniques of environmental plant physiology in glasshouse and lab-based studies. Interested students must apply for admission to ANU; see here for more details (click on the HDR tab). Applications for international students are due by August 31 and for Australian citizens and permanent residents or New Zealand citizens on October 31 for an early 2018 start. For further information, please contact or

Location: The Division of Evolution and Ecology in the Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia will be the project base. The facilities and intellectual environment are outstanding and the Kruuk and Nicotra labs are lively, hard-working and inquisitive places. We strive to do excellent, fundamental research that is relevant in the context of rapid global change.