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M/F Facilitation between parasites in coinfections and consequences for parasite virulence evolution

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Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : mercredi 23 juin 2021

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General information

Reference : UMR5554-ALIDUN-002
Workplace : MONTPELLIER
Date of publication : Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Scientific Responsible name : Alison Duncan
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2021
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

A three-year fully funded PhD position will be opening on the impact of (co)evolutionary interactions between Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and the spider mite Tetranychus urticae on life-history trait and virulence evolution in both parasites. In this system, TSWV facilitates T. urticae, increasing its fecundity, compared to levels observed in corresponding single infections. Facilitation between parasites in a coinfection (i.e. when hosts harbour more than one parasite) may select for reduced virulence. This will be tested using experimental evolution under two different scenarios: 1. when parasites are continuously forced to be in coinfection, and 2. when parasites may alternate, across generations, between single and coinfections in a population of hosts harbouring multiple infections (different parasite species co-circulating).

The PhD will be based in the Experimental Evolution of Communities team at the Institute of Evolutionary Sciences at the University of Montpellier. The project will also include a 6 month secondment to the Virology team in the Plant Pathology Unit, INRAE, Avignon.

Contact: Alison.duncan@umontpellier.fr
Website: www.aliduncan.eu

Methodological approaches and techniques:
The project will be laboratory based, centred around long-term selection experiments coupled with assays on evolved parasites to measure virulence and other life-history traits. These assays will include molecular biology techniques (qPCR, elisa) to measure viral growth and physiological responses in the host plants.

Scientific competences and skills required:
Expertise in evolutionary biology and statistical analysis, ability to work independently in the laboratory as well as in a team, good written and spoken English (the working language of the team is English). An MSc degree is required to study for a PhD in France.

Application: Please send a letter of motivation, a CV and the names of 2 people that can be contacted for references. All applications need to be made via the CNRS website (CNRS WEBSITE). Interviews will be conducted online in late June/early July.

Start date: October 2021.

Some relevant publications:
Rodrigues, L. R., Torralba Sáez, M., Alpedrinha, J., Lefèvre, S., Brengues, M., Magalhães, S. and Duncan, A.B. (2021) Consequences of population structure for sex allocation and sexual conflict. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 34 (3): 525-536.

Zélé, F., Magalhães, S., Kéfi S. and Duncan, A. B., (2018) Ecology and evolution of facilitation among symbionts. Nature Communications, 9:4869.

Rodrigues, L. R., Duncan, A. B., Clemente, S. H., Moya-Laraño J and Magalhães S. (2016) Integrating competition for food, hosts or mates via experimental evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 31, 158–170.

Work Context

The PhD will be based in the Experimental Evolution of Communities team at the Institute of Evolutionary Sciences at the University of Montpellier. The project will also include a 6 month secondment to the Virology team in the Plant Pathology Unit, INRAE, Avignon.

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