NSF REU position with Anderson lab (UGA) at RMBL – ecological and evolutionary consequences of climate change on natural plant populations

Jill Anderson and Susana Wadgymar at the University of Georgia are searching

for an enthusiastic undergraduate with a strong interest in evolutionary

ecology for field research in an NSF REU position (National Science

Foundation, Research Experience for Undergraduates) from June-August 2017.

We study the ecological and evolutionary consequences of climate change for

natural plant populations. We focus on research on Drummond=92s rockcress

(Boechera stricta in the plant family Brassicaceae), a mustard plant native

to the Rocky Mountains. Our studies take place around the Rocky Mountain

Biological Lab (http://www.rmbl.org/), which is located in Gothic, Colorado

near the wildflower capital of Colorado (Crested Butte).  We quantify plant

fitness and traits to ask whether climate change could disrupt long-standing

patterns of local adaptation, and to test whether phenotypic plasticity will

enable populations to persist in the short-term. We perform large-scale

reciprocal transplant experiments to examine patterns of adaptive evolution

and natural selection in contemporary landscapes. Since fall 2013, we have

planted ~60,000 seeds and seedlings into five experimental gardens ranging

in elevation from 2500 m to 3340 m (8202 feet to 11000 feet). Our summer

research involves intensive monitoring of these experimental plants to

record data on germination success, survival, growth, reproductive success,

as well as life history and morphological traits. We conduct most of our

work in the field, with a small proportion of indoor lab work.

The successful candidate will assist with ongoing fieldwork. In addition,

there are many opportunities for students to develop independent projects

associated with our overall objectives, including studies on: 1) population

divergence in ecologically-relevant traits, especially drought, UV

tolerance, and herbivore resistance; 2) phenotypic plasticity at multiple

spatial scales; 3) population density and species composition of the

herbivore community that attacks Drummond=92s rockcress; 4) flower color

polymorphism; and 5) the importance of maternal effects in biological

responses to climate change.

We are offering a stipend of $500/week for a full time REU student (40

hours/week) for 10 weeks.  The exact start and end dates are flexible. We

will cover room and board at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and

reimburse travel expenses up to $500. Fieldwork will involve hiking to

experimental gardens through rough terrain (1-3 miles one-way daily).

The University of Georgia is committed to maintaining a fair and respectful

environment for living, work, and study.  To that end, all qualified

applicants from individuals with a strong interest in evolutionary biology

will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color,

religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity,

disability status, or age.  The application consists of a cover letter

listing your qualifications, a CV/ r=E9sum=E9, and contact information for two

references, all of which can be emailed to Dr. Jill Anderson at: jta24@uga.edu

Applications are due by March 24th, 2017.

Feel free to contact Jill or Susana (susanaw@uga.edu) if you have any

questions about the position.  Additional information about the our work can

be found at: http://andersonlab.genetics.uga.edu/Home.html