Graduate position: EastCarolinaU.FrogColorEvolution

I am seeking a PhD student to carry out research associated with an
NSF-supported project focused on the genetic underpinnings of mimicry and
color pattern evolution in a mimetic radiation of poison frogs in Peru
(see description below), starting in Spring or Fall 2019. Candidates
must have a strong academic record and be motivated to continue
learning. Desirable qualifications for the position include an interest
in the evolutionary biology and genetics of tropical amphibians, and
some combination of 1) background in evolutionary genetics or genomics,
2) experience working in a molecular genetics laboratory, 3) previous
work with amphibians and captive breeding, 4) fieldwork on amphibians
(especially in Latin America), 5) programming experience in R, Python
and/or UNIX.

Direct support through research assistantships is available for 2
years, followed by support through teaching assistantships (at least 5
years of support in total). The Department of Biology at ECU is large
and multidisciplinary, with strong research groups in evolution,
ecology, behavior and genomics: see for more
information on the department. East Carolina University is located
in Greenville, North Carolina, centrally located between Raleigh and
the Outer Banks. The Summers lab focuses on evolution, ecology and
behavior of the Neotropical poison frogs. See my lab research page at for more information. I
encourage applications from minorities and under-represented groups of
all kinds. Please send a letter detailing your research interests and
experience, as well as a current CV (including coursework), GRE scores
(if available), and names and addresses of three references, to Kyle
Summers (

This project combines three research groups with complementary skills
and realms of expertise to investigate the genetic basis and population
genomic processes underlying color pattern divergence in the context of
mimicry in the Peruvian mimic poison frog, Ranitomeya imitator: Dr. Kyle
Summers (East Carolina University), Dr. Rasmus Nielsen (UC Berkeley)
and Dr. Matthew MacManes (University of New Hampshire). The project will
make use of several different approaches: 1. Next generation sequencing
(RNAseq, Illumina platform) will be used to produce transcriptomes across
species, color pattern morphs, and color patches within morphs. These
will be assembled and used to investigate patterns of differential gene
expression. 2.  Genome-wide marker arrays (exome capture sequences)
will be used to screen transition zone samples and enable divergence
and admixture mapping to identify candidate genes. 3. We will test the
association of specific candidate loci with color pattern variation
using pedigree analyses of candidate genes identified from 1 and 2,
using a multigenerational pedigree. 4. We will investigate the expression
patterns of these genes in developing embryos using designed hybridization
probes. 5. We will use phylogenomic methods to reconstruct the evolution
of the divergent populations of R. imitator, and of the color genes in
those populations. 6. We will test specific hypotheses regarding selection
and demographic processes in the transition zones and between mimics and
models. Together these complementary, mutually reinforcing approaches
will begin to reveal the genetic underpinnings and population genomics
of color pattern diversity in this mimetic radiation of poison frogs.

Kyle Summers
Dept. of Biology
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC  27858

“Summers, Kyle” <>