[Taxacom] 2 Graduate Research Assistantships Available – Parasitoid Hymenoptera Systematics, University of Illinois

James Whitfield jwhitfie at life.uiuc.edu
Fri Dec 21 14:24:49 CST 2007

2 Graduate Research Assistantships Available – Parasitoid Hymenoptera
Systematics, University of Illinois

    Two graduate student research assistantships are available in the
Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign.  Each of the assistantships is associated with
NSF-funded research on braconid parasitoid wasps in the laboratory of
Dr. James Whitfield (http://www.life.uiuc.edu/whitfield).  Successful
candidates will be expected to apply for admission to the Department of
Entomology (information on admission can be found on the Department’s
website: http://www.life.uiuc.edu/entomology/index.html).  The
Department of Entomology has recently been ranked #1 nationally among
Entomology graduate programs, and the students will join a leading
laboratory in insect molecular systematics with close ties to other top
insect systematics labs both on campus and at the Illinois Natural
History Survey.

Molecular systematics of the hyperdiverse genus /Heterospilus/

    Funded by NSF DEB 0717365, this 4-year project encompasses a
multigene molecular phylogeny of the speciose braconid wasp genus
/Heterospilus/.  Under the direction of Dr. Whitfield, the student will
extract, amplify and sequence each of 3 genes from roughly 200 species
of wasp, and conduct molecular phylogenetic analyses to test monophyly
of the genus worldwide, and to explore relationships within the genus,
especially for the neotropical fauna.  Parallel to this work,
collaborator Paul Marsh
(http://www.life.uiuc.edu/whitfield/Paul_Marsh.html) and a postdoctoral
associate (position currently being advertised) will conduct a taxonomic
revision of the genus, and produce online interactive identification
keys to the 200+ species in Costa Rica.  Some experience in insect
systematics, molecular phylogenetics and/or phylogenetic analysis
methods is highly desirable for the graduate student part of the
project.  The position is available as soon as Summer 2008.  Application
should be at the Ph. D. level.

Braconid caterpillar parasitoids in the eastern Andes of Ecuador

    Funded by NSF DEB 0717402, this long-term project
(http://www.tulane.edu/~ldyer/lsacat/ecuador/index.htm) seeks to
characterize the fauna of caterpillars and their parasitoids in montane
wet forest on the eastern slope of the Andes at Yanayacu Biological
Station (http://www.yanayacu.org/).  The graduate student will help
train parataxonomists in Ecuador, help sort and identify parasitoids
reared from the caterpillars, and conduct taxonomic research on a group
of braconid parasitoids that are recovered by the project.  Considerable
interaction with other collaborating taxonomists and ecologists is
expected.  Strong interest in and some experience with insect
descriptive taxonomy and tropical biology are highly desirable.
Knowledge of conversational Spanish desirable but not essential.
Fieldwork in montane Ecuador can be physically demanding.  This position
is available as soon as January 2008.  Current funding is for two years
but renewal expected. Applications at either the M. S. or Ph. D. levels

Interested candidates should submit the following (preferably by email)
to Dr. James Whitfield (jwhitfie at life.uiuc.edu):

1)    A letter stating why you want to apply for the position, and why
you think you would be the best person for this research.  Please also
include a broader perspective on your career and graduate school

2)    A current curriculum vitae, including any previous research
projects you have been involved with, honors, awards, publications and
presentations, and your overall GPA.

3)    A list of relevant field, laboratory and analytical techniques
with which you have

4)    Names and contact information (email, phone, address) for at least
3 people who
can supply reference letters.

    We will begin assessing applications during late December, and will
notify top candidates shortly thereafter, in time to complete
applications to the department graduate program.

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