Supervisors and Institutions
Applications are invited for this project, which is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation for 48 months.
Project description. Faunal assemblages with longer branch-lengths of their phylogenetic or taxonomic tree preserve more evolutionary history than assemblages in which species are distributed among fewer higher taxa. The new project will analyse changes in the structure of taxonomic trees in a major class of marine invertebrates during the greatest turnover in the history of marine life, using two main parameters: (i) average taxonomic distinctness (AvTD), which is the average taxonomic path length between any two randomly chosen species, and (ii) variation of taxonomic distinctness (VarTD), which is the variance of these pairwise path lengths. These parameters capture the neglected aspect of changes in the taxonomic structure in response to a changing macroecological background and have the analytical benefit of a virtual independence from sampling effort. Based on a coherent taxonomic concept, AvTD and VarTD will be calculated for bivalve faunas from the Permian to the Jurassic; this time interval encompasses two major mass extinctions and ensuing recoveries, the shift from the Palaeozoic evolutionary fauna to the Modern evolutionary fauna, and the initial Mesozoic marine revolution.
Tasks. The project will include palaeontological fieldwork, the collection and processing of literature data, the construction of a coherent taxonomic framework, the calculation of AvTD and VarTD for assemblages and stratigraphic intervals, and the analysis and interpretation of the data in the context of a changing macroevolutionary background.
Qualifications. Mandatory requirements include a master’s degree in geology or biology, a profound knowledge of taxonomic work, a high degree of initiative and motivation, very good scientific writing skills, and knowledge of statistical methods. Desirable are a background in invertebrate palaeontology and/or taxonomy, experience in palaeontological fieldwork, the ability to work in mountainous regions, and a driving license.
Applications. Please send your cv, cover letter, and a copy of your Master thesis electronically to email@example.com.
For further information, please contact Michael Hautmann (firstname.lastname@example.org)