Job: The Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) has a two-year position for a MSc in Biology on the Belspo BRAIN-pioneer project Syrpintine “Syrphidae Plant Interactions Introducing Next-Generation Sequencing Techniques”. More info in dutch or in french.
Short description of the project:
The pollination of flowering plants by insects is critical to agriculture. Yet, the study of interactions between agriculturally important flowering plants and insect pollinators in Africa is still in its infancy. This is mainly because the taxonomy of most insect groups is poorly known so that plant-insect networks cannot be unravelled. Here, new and innovative next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques will be used to study the interactions between a guild of pollinating insects (Syrphidae) and their food plants in an agricultural mosaic landscape in Benin (Central Africa). The NGS-techniques will be used to 1) stabilize the taxonomy of the hover fly genus Eristalinus, 2) set-up a molecular reference database to identify wild and agricultural plant species of the region, and 3) explore the applicability of these techniques to identify plant species from pollen collected on the flies (i.e. pollen on body parts and from the stomach). Additionally, the project will be a first step in estimating the importance of this insect group as pollinators of agricultural crops in Africa. This project will provide a baseline for future studies of the pollination biology of Syrphidae. Finally, it will allow to postulate fundamental and applied hypotheses on plant-pollinator interactions and stimulate future, similar research in African regions that have a high agricultural activity.
The project is a collaboration between the RMCA and the Botanical Garden Meise (Steven Janssens)
More information can be obtained from Kurt Jordaens at kurt.jordaens 'at' africamuseum.be
PhD Candidate in metabarcoding: vacant position at Tromsø University Museum (application deadline: 10.03.2015)