15 PhD positions available for 2016 – International Max Planck Research School for Evolutionary Biology

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This announcement definitely deserves it’s own post! The International Max Planck Research School for Evolutionary Biology is offering up to 15 PhD positions and fellowships.

The graduate school is dedicated to highest level of research and training in all areas of contemporary Evolutionary Biology. It is a joint initiative of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, the University of Kiel and the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR). The school offers an internationally competitive research environment with state of art facilities. The participating groups are working on a broad variety of scientific topics including molecular, behavioral, theoretical and organismal approaches. Some of the projects and PIs offering positions:

Miriam Liedvogel

  • Genomic architecture and evolution of migratory traits in songbirds
  • Ecological and genomic control of migration the partially migratory Eurasian blackbird

Frank Kempken

  • Use of fungal model systems to address evolutionary questions

The graduate program starts with a rotation period of three months followed by a PhD project of three years including seminars, courses and workshops. The language of the graduate school is English. Financial support is provided throughout the program.

To obtain further information about the PhD program and application details please visit:


Well-motivated and highly-qualified students from all countries are welcome to apply. A Master of Science degree or a Diploma as well as a strong interest in Evolutionary Biology and flexibility in the research project are prerequisites for entering the program.

The deadline for applications is April 17, 2016. The selection week will be held from June 27 – July 01 and the program itself starts on September 19, 2016.

Contact: Dr. Kerstin Mehnert, August-Thienemann-Str. 2, 24306 Plön, Germany

email:   phone: +49(0)4522 763 233


9 Days Left!! Crowdfunding the mysterious Bauhinia Genome, a community outreach project in HK

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After helping promote community genome and microbiome projects such as the Puerto Rican “peoples parrot”, Azolla Genome, Kittybiome, and the community cactus, the team at BGI-HK, in collaboration with CUHK, has finally decided to launch their own: sequencing the Bauhinia genome.

A mystery lies behind the origin of the Hong Kong Orchid Bauhinia blakeana, HK’s national emblem: how and why did it end up in the country? Genetically it is a sterile hybrid (and really, more of a legume than an orchid). No species of the genus has had its genome sequenced yet.

The Bahunia flower

This will be the first Hong Kong genome project: funded by the public; sequenced in Hong Kong; assembled and analyzed by local students; and directly shared with the community. An important part of the project is community involvement and outreach – Bauhinia Watch is their citizen science project for people to report locations of Bauhinia and its relatives, while the project’s website will provide info on the science behind the sequencing and other facts on Bauhinia

Enough money has been raised so far to fund the transcriptome; the next goal is to get enough funds on Indiegogo to start sequencing the genomes of the family members. To find out how to support this project or for more details, visit:

4th Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium – Sat 1 Aug, 830am @ UTown, NUS

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The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum will be holding the Fourth Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium (BoSS IV) on 1 Aug at the National University of Singapore. The Guest of Honour is Minister of State Desmond Lee and the Keynote speech will be by Prof Rudolf Meier.

Program details:

Register online at:

Kittybiomes, Koala Microbiomes and Beer Genomes

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Community genome projects have popped up pretty recently and now moving into the microbiome arena with crowdfunding projects like The Koala Project (studying the effects of antibiotics on koala health) and the Kittybiome, a project to study the gut bacteria of cats. For cat lovers, an interview by Scott Edmunds in Gigablog with Holly Ganz from Kittybiome:

Then there is the latest Kickstarter genome project : Beer DeCoded – a joint citizen science project run by Hackuarium and SwissDeCode. If you pledge  €3,000 or more, they offer to go beyond beer and:

Sequence your World!

We are at your disposition.
+We will develop a custom project to sequence your beers, wines, cheeses, foods.
+We will develop personalised solutions.
+We will host an events on our 1000 sqm space for you.

Crowdfunding Genome Sequencing of the Prickly Pear Cactus – 8 Days to go

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From an interview with the researchers:

The goal of their proposal is to sequence the genome and transcriptome of the prickly pear cactus, a recognized food and forage crop in these challenging semiarid regions of the world.

With more than 130 genera and 1,500 species of Cactaceae, we will create a draft genomic and transcriptome database that would aid the understanding of this understudied plant family, and provide the research community with valuable resources for molecular breeding and genetic manipulation purposes.


For more info and to fund the project:


Gordon Research Conference Ecological & Evol Genomics – 12 to 17 July, USA

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From Genomes to Biomes: Using Biodiversity to Explore Biocomplexity
University of New England, Biddeford, ME
Application deadline is June 14, 2015

Topic areas such as genome evolution, microbiomes & symbiosis, speciation & adaptation, phylogenomics and organismal responses to climate change, will highlight how biodiversity can be used to illuminate complex biological relationships and inform ecological and evolutionary processes and molecular mechanisms of adaption to changing environments. The conference will also feature emerging approaches and technologies to aid further exploration of the genomes from organisms that span the tree of life.

Click here for the conference program.