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

James Whitfield jwhitfie at life.uiuc.edu
Fri Oct 26 17:25:13 CDT 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 mid November, and will 
notify top candidates shortly thereafter, in time to complete 
applications to the department graduate program.  

More information about the Taxacom mailing list