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2 PhD positions Molecular and Chemical Ecology of Plant – Insect Interactions available

News from Jun 28, 2021

2 PhD positions – Molecular and Chemical Ecology of Plant – Insect Interactions

(Wiss. Mitarbeiterin / Wiss. Mitarbeiter, 65% E13 TV-L, for 3 years)

Keyword: Pine 2021

Deadline: July 19, 2021

A DFG-funded project entitled “Priming of Pine Defence against Insect Infestation“ is seeking two highly motivated PhD students with strong interest and experience in molecular and chemical ecology of plant – insect interactions. Applicants with a MSc or Diploma degree in Biology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Biochemistry and/or Ecology are highly welcome.

Background: The project addresses the question how pine trees can prepare (prime) their defensive responses to insect infestation. Previous studies showed that pine can take (a) insect sex pheromones as "warning" of impending insect egg depositions and (b) insect eggs as warning of impending larval herbivory. Pine trees responding to sex pheromones prepare (prime) their defence against eggs. Insect eggs laid on pheromone-exposed trees have reduced survival rates. Pine trees responding to insect eggs prepare (prime) their defence against hatching larvae, which suffer enhanced mortality on previously egg-laden pine. The project aims to understand how these priming processes are regulated on the transcriptional, phytohormonal and chemical (metabolite) level of pine. A further goal of the project is to elucidate ecological consequences of these priming processes.

One PhD student will focus on the first mentioned aim, the other one on the ecological questions. Both PhD students are expected to enthusiastically collaborate. The research will be done in the lab of Applied Zoology/Animal Ecology at Freie Universität Berlin. We offer a vivid research environment, which trains PhD students in combing molecular/biochemical life sciences with ecology and promotes integrative collaborations.

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