PhD position in Plant Systematics, University of Gothenburg

Project description
Species is one of the most fundamental units in biology. Despite this, there is a lot of controversy on how the species category is characterized. Evolutionary biology in particular and biology in general have recently gained enormously from conceptual and empirical developments in our understanding of how species are formed and related. However, much of this has been based on small amounts of information in models that may be statistically misleading. With the increased availability of DNA sequence data at the genomic level, it is time to develop statistical tools and models that make full use of this information. In this project, we will develop and refine statistical methods that are based on the multispecies coalescent to derive species delimitations and assignments. The recently developed methods that infer species trees while taking uncertainty in species delimitation into account offer an excellent baseline.
We will extend these to take morphological and geographical trait data into account, and merge them with species networks in this project, we will make heavy use of the large empirical data sets from projects studying reticulate phylogenetics among ca 750 species of Sileneae.
The student will become a member of the Scandinavian research school in biosystematics, ForBio (

Job assignments
The main task is to conduct the PhD thesis work under supervision, which includes development of the PhD student’s methodology experience, analytical skills, and theoretical depth and breadth.
Techniques used within the project include preparation of DNA suitable for modern mass sequencing techniques, and bioinformatics handling and analysis of the data. The studies will be conducted mostly as laborative studies. Shorter periods may also be spent as field work. Specific research topics associated with the research project include plant systematics, bioinformatics, and phylogenetics.

Third cycle education
Admission to third cycle education is aiming at a PhD in Natural Science, specialising Biology. The education runs for four years of fulltime studies, containing three years of thesis work, and one year of academic education i.e. course work and literature studies. A selection of courses at the Department/Faculty is available, but national/international courses can also be selected. Some teaching and/or course administration can be included which extends the contract to the same extent.

The qualifications for education on a doctoral level are: degree in advanced level, at least 240 university points, of which 60 are on an advanced level, or in an other way acquired similar knowledge.

Regulations for the evaluation of qualifications for education on a doctoral level are given in SFS 1998:80.

We are seeking a highly motivated person for PhD studies in evolutionary plant systematics with emphasis on species tree models
Good communication skills (written and spoken) in English are necessary.

Specialization within bioinformatics and experience of modern mass DNA sequencing protocols is advantageous.

Basic knowledge in computer programming is a merit.

The top ranked candidates will be selected for an interview, which might be held in English and could also be performed by phone /skype.

Additional information
The application must include:

A short cover letter with the applicant’s justification for the application, i.e., that describes how the applicant meets the selection criteria (max. one A4 page)

An attested list of qualifications (CV)

Examination certificates and a transcript of courses with grades

A copy of the Masters thesis (or equivalent)

Employments certificates and other documents deemed important by the applicant

Contact information for at least two referees that are familiar with the applicant’s qualifications

The application should be written in English.

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Related information

For further information please contact

Bengt Oxelman, Professor
+46(0)31 768 26 78

Henrik Aronsson, Head of Department
+46(0)31-786 48 02

Labour union

SACO: Klas Eriksson

OFR/S: Anna Nilsson
+46(0)31-786 43 00

+46(0)31-786 1173

Closing date


Appointment Procedure

Please apply online.

Complementary documents, such as publications/books should be sent to the following address: University of Gothenburg, Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Att: Ingela Lyck, Box 463, 405 30 Gothenburg

Reference number should be clearly stated when sending complementary documents.

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

Appointments Procedure for Teachers

Appointments Procedure for Teachers

Bengt Oxelman
Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences
Göteborg University
Box 461
SE-40530 Göteborg
Tel. +46 31 786 2678

Faktura: Box 1023, 831 29 Östersund. Referens ”3130BOXEBE”

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