Two MSc positions in the Molecular Ecology of Symbioses are available in The Bishop Lab at St. Francis-Xavier University, starting Sept, 2018. Deadline to apply is January 31st, 2018.

Our lab is primarily concerned with understanding symbioses between unicellular eukaryotes or prokaryotes and amphibian egg masses. We are currently investigating the microbiome associated with egg masses of the yellow spotted salamander Ambystoma maculatum, which forms a well-known symbiosis with a unicellular green alga Oophila amblystomatis. We have recently discovered the presence of other eukaryotes and prokaryotes that are held in common among egg masses from different locales in our area. Therefore, the complexity of symbiotic partners is increasing, and requires a broader set of analyses to improve our understanding of the ecology and evolution of these symbioses.

MSc projects are designed to build upon existing knowledge by:

  1. Testing whether and how the eukaryotic and prokaryotic microbiome varies
    1. among different amphibian hosts, by comparing existing data to samples from wood frogs, northwestern salamanders and red-legged frogs.
    2. among locales, by comparing existing data from yellow spotted salamander egg masses to egg masses from other locales across the geographic range of the host.
  2. Investigating population growth dynamics of microbial accumulation in salamanders.

Students can expect to learn field collection and culture of amphibian egg masses, sampling design, techniques associated with next-generation (MiSeq) amplicon sequencing and data analysis, and, as appropriate, microbial genome sequencing and assembly. Some travel is probable.

St. FX is located in Antigonish, a small town in a rural setting in beautiful northeastern Nova Scotia, in the vicinity of the Northumberland Straight and Cape Breton Island.

Interested Canadian or international applicants should email with a statement of academic experience and research interest, an unofficial transcript and a CV. A record of academic achievement, especially in cell and molecular biology and participation in a defined research experience (usually an Honours thesis, but others may be suitable) are required. The Bishop Lab is committed to increasing diversity in science and cultivates a positive training space for all.