Internship opportunity: Evolutionary responses to climate change in tropical lizards
Recent studies have argued that tropical organisms are particularly vulnerable to climate change because they are adapted to the thermally stable tropics. In other words, they are “thermal specialists” incapable of dealing with even small changes in temperature. For animals like lizards that have limited dispersal ability, evolutionary adaptation may be their primary means to avoid extinction. But can lizards evolve fast enough to keep pace with global warming? Is there sufficient phenotypic variation in tropical lizard populations for selection to act upon? If so, what is the genomic basis of this variation?
We are conducting a large-scale transplant experiment aimed at measuring evolutionary change in real time, testing hypotheses about thermal adaptation and the evolutionary capacity of tropical animals in the face of rapid, catastrophic warming. We are looking for one or more interns to join us at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) as we sample lizards from a series of experimental islands in the Panama Canal. The internship will run from September through November, 2018, and is open to undergraduate or graduate students (or recent grads looking for additional field experience). Prior experience with hand-catching lizards is preferred, but not necessary, as is prior experience in the tropics (preferred but not necessary). We particularly encourage members of underrepresented groups (women, minorities, first-generation college students, etc.) to apply.
The intern will be integrated into an international team of evolutionary biologists and ecologists working on this project. The intern will be trained in a number of field and laboratory techniques. These include (but are not limited to) field capture and processing of live Anolis lizards, measuring morphological traits, respirometry, estimation of thermal tolerance and field body temperatures, habitat monitoring using a drone, tissue sampling and DNA preservation, and visual elastomer marking techniques for mark-recapture studies. In general, the intern will be exposed to a vibrant scientific atmosphere of dedicated, passionate researchers working in one of the most complex and pristine tropical environments on the planet.
The intern will apply through the STRIs internship program: http://www.stri.si.edu/english/education_fellowships/internships/research_experience_tropics.php
The deadline for applications is March 15th. The internship stipend is $1000/month which comfortably covers room and board in Panama. There is no allowance specifically for travel. This program is competitive, with applications being evaluated by a committee of Smithsonian staff scientists. As such, there is no guarantee that any individual application will be approved. However, project PI Mike Logan (Biodiversity Genomics Postdoctoral Fellow at STRI;www.evolutioninthetropics.com) will work with individual applicants to improve their essay and increase their chances at getting accepted. Please email Mike (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information and to see if your interests match the goals of the project. Please attach your CV to the first email.