graduate student openings in plant evolutionary ecology

The Shefferson lab at the University of Tokyo is recruiting graduate

students at both the MS and PhD levels with interests in plant evolutionary

ecology, for entry into the Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences

(GPES, online at in Sept 2018. We specialize

in evolutionary demography and plant/microbial evolution, with particular

interests in rapid evolution and eco-evolutionary dynamics. We are

particularly hoping to recruit students to work on the following funded

research projects:

1)    *Deep demography*: Demographic patterns are strongly influenced by

both evolutionary history and geography, but a mechanistic understanding of

these relationships is still lacking. We hope to unravel it using a number

of large-scale projects focused on herbaceous perennial plant species.

2)    *Evolutionary origins of plant-microbial symbiosis*: We seek to

understand the first steps in the evolutionary process leading to the

development of widespread symbioses, such as the mycorrhiza.

3)    *Eco-evolutionary impacts of individual history*: We hope to

understand how long-term experience influences evolutionary processes,

particularly at the micro-evolutionary scale.

In addition to these projects, we seek students generally interested in the

following topics:

1)    Micro-evolutionary interactions between symbiosis and population

dynamics, with a focus on the mycorrhiza.

2)    The micro- and macro-evolution of senescence-related life history

patterns and life history costs, with a focus on herbaceous plants and

terrestrial fungi.

3)    Interactions between community structure and phylogeny at differing

timescales, with a focus on the mycorrhiza.

4)    Eco-evolutionary impacts of conservation problems and associated


Students applying to work in the lab may focus on these topics, or choose

other research themes in plant and microbial evolutionary ecology. Research

methods typically involve *in situ* monitoring and experimentation,

combined with modeling and analysis based in R and/or C++. We typically

work with plants and their symbiotic microbes, and students should

generally be interested in these study organisms. The Shefferson lab has

active field sites in the Japan, USA, and Estonia, and also regularly

conducts field work in China, Central America, and Western and Central


The Shefferson lab is located within the University of Tokyo, Komaba

Campus. U Tokyo is home to some of the finest scientists in Japan,

including ecologists and evolutionary biologists, and more Nobel laureates

than you can shake a stick at. Komaba in particular has a particularly

large community of ecologists and evolutionary biologists working on

plants, animals, and fungi. The GPES program conducts all graduate

education in English, although students have the opportunity to learn

Japanese and take courses from throughout the U Tokyo curriculum. Our

campus is only 15 minutes=E2=80=99 walk from Shibuya, one of the most vibrant parts

of Tokyo.

Applications to join the lab MUST be received by *24 November 2017*, and

students MUST INCLUDE a current, official GRE transcript. Please note that

GRE scores are only valid for 5 years, so students with transcripts older

than this need to re-take the GRE. Applicants with high scores, high

grades, and strong recommendations will be considered for a competitive,

full-ride scholarship.

If interested, please contact me at, and please also explore the Shefferson

lab website: