RP10: Uncovering the epigenetic component of plant-herbivore interactions - CLOSED FOR APPLICATIONS

  • PhD Supervisor(s): Conchita Alonso & Mónica Medrano
  • Host Institution: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas - Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC), Sevilla, Spain
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Fixed start date: 1 April 2018
  • Planned secondment(s): Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Wageningen, NL; Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (GE); Wissenschaft im Dialog, Berlin (GE).  

Plant species can defend against herbivore damage in different ways. Mounting evidence indicates that epigenetic regulation can modulate such responses, including priming and maternal effects on resistance. Still, our understanding of epigenetic contribution to plant-herbivore interactions is fragmentary.

In this project we aim to evaluate the role of DNA methylation in plant responses to herbivory by screening the effects of herbivory in DNA methylation, resistance traits, and individual performance in the focal species of EpiDiverse. Further, the potential for transgeneration inherited effects and causal involvement of DNA methylation will be experimentally tested under controlled conditions in short-lived species.


We seek a bright, highly motivated and enthusiastic plant biologist with background in plant-herbivore interactions, molecular biology or (epi)genetics, and committed to develop its work combining knowledge and practices from those disciplines. A Master of Science in Ecology, Plant Sciences or equivalent is needed. Practical experience with molecular ecology, NGS technologies and/or bioinformatics are important advantages. A high standard of spoken and written English is required, as are good organisational and analytical capabilities, excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability to work independently, as well as part of a team.

Contact information

The Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC, www.ebd.csic.es) is a top research institute of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) in the field of Natural Resources. It is located in Sevilla and conducts multidisciplinary research aimed to understanding, from an evolutionary viewpoint, the way in which biodiversity is generated and maintained, as well as the consequences of its loss and the possibilities of its conservation and restoration. The PhD student position will be hosted at the Plant-Animal Interactions group, Evolutionary Ecology Department.