Seminar: Intro to Traditional Japanese Horticulture by Michele Rodda – 4pm, Fri 23 Feb @ SBG

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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:

2 PhD. positions in Systematic Botany / Phylogenetics @ the University of Zürich – Start Date Sept/Oct 2015

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The students will work with Dr. Colin Hughes on a research project entitled “Global Legume diversity patterns: macroevolutionary and ecological processes shaping biodiversity”, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation in the Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zürich. The project investigates how diversity evolves and understanding the processes and factors that determine the spatial distribution of life on Earth, and uses recent developments in comparative phylogenomics and global-scale species distribution modelling to quantify phylogenetic turnover and the ecological factors underlying patterns of diversity across large-scale ecological gradients.

The PhD projects will focus on specific legume clades, and especially subfamily Mimosoideae, a pantropical clade spanning all lowland tropical biomes and potentially involve fieldwork, laboratory work to generate DNA sequence data using NGS, herbarium specimen database work, and phylogenetic/ macroevolutionary analysis.

The project will also involve collaboration with legume researchers in Brasil, the Netherlands, U.K., U.S.A. and Canada. Salary is according to the Swiss National Science Foundation guidelines. Funding, including for laboratory and field work, is available for 3 years.
Requirements: Applicants should hold a Masters degree in systematics, biodiversity or evolutionary biology. Experience in molecular laboratory techniques, working with NGS data, phylogenetic analysis, macroevolutionary analysis, fieldwork and GIS are all potentially relevant. Excellent knowledge of English, written and oral, is essential.

How to apply: Send the following documents by email AS A SINGLE PDF FILE to Dr. Colin Hughes, i) a two-page application letter describing your research interests, outlining why you think working on mimosoid legumes is interesting, why are you interested in a Ph.D. position in systematic botany and your career goals; ii) your CV, including a list of publications (if applicable); iii) a copy of your undergraduate and graduate academic record; iv) names and contact details of at least two referees selected from your academic advisors.

Applications will be screened from May 25th 2015 onwards until the positions are filled.

Post-doc Position on Invasion Ecology, UFRGS,Brazil

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The project aims to assess community invasiveness and the impacts of invasion by Eragrostis plana (love-grass, or Annoni-grass in Brazil) on native grassland in southern Brazil. E. plana is considered the most invasive species of grassland ecosystems in southern Brazil, with about one million hectares of native grasslands invaded. The species was detected in Brazil for the first time in 1957, was spread across the state of Rio Grande do Sul in the 1970s and has been officially considered invasive since 1979. The proposed research involves the integration of knowledge at different levels of biological organization to understand the process of invasion and the possibilities to control it.

The post-doctoral profile is of a PhD with experience in research with community ecology, with emphasis on grassland and/or invasive species and/or functional ecology. The candidate should have completed his/her PhD less than five years ago. Command of English and relevant programs for data analysis are essential requirements. She/he should demonstrate ability to work in a team and have an interest in the supervision of undergraduate and graduate students and possibly in the offering of a graduate course related to the project topic. Though proficiency in Portuguese is not a requirement, this is an opportunity to learn the language and to become acquainted with the Brazilian university system.

The scholarship monthly amount of R$ 4,100 (free of income tax) will be paid for 20 months by CAPES, plus travel support. Candidates should contact Prof. Valério Pillar (, Department of Ecology at UFRGS..

For more info:

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:


Job Opening: Assistant Curator @ William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, New York Botanical Garden

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The Assistant Curator will participate in the management of the Herbarium, providing professional expertise in plant identification and nomenclature; helping to develop projects that further Herbarium goals of making data available for research and conservations; conducting original research; and taking an active role in outreach for the herbarium for a general audience.

* Identify plant specimens
* Address nomenclatural issues that arise during specimen loan fulfillment
* Curation and digitization projects
* Write grant proposals to support the work of the Herbarium
* Lead collection improvement activities including specimen digitization projects and rearrangement of the Herbarium
* Carry out original research
* Participate in Division-wide activities such as editing, web content development, tours, and courses
* Represent the Herbarium at nation and international meetings

* Experience with plant identification
* Defined research objectives
* Familiarity with specimen digitization and curation techniques
* Ability to write compellingly for grant proposal and science outreach projects
* Experience and interest in formal and informal lecturing
* PhD in Plant Science
Send resumé:

Celebrate World Water Day with a coastal cleanup at Pandan Mangrove, Sat 21 Mar 2015: 4.00pm!

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News from the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

In conjunction with World Water Day, volunteers with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) will be conducting a cleanup at Sungei Pandan mangrove on Sat 21 March 2015: 4.00pm – 6.00pm.

Sign up here by the 11th of March 2015 if you want to join us!
We will provide transport to the site.

WWD poster6

What is World Water Day?
World Water Day is a day designated by the United Nations to highlight the importance of water and to advocate sustainable management of water resources.

Why cleanup? Humanity needs water and wetland habitats are an integral part of the water cycle on this planet. Wetlands habitats are especially precious in Singapore and trash causes adverse impacts to wildlife, releases harmful chemicals and are an unsightly presence we should not tolerate! Coastal cleanups are conducted by volunteers around the world to remove this trash, raise awareness of the blight on our oceans and…

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