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Adaptation genomics: the genetic architecture of colour polymorphism and speciation - University of Melbourne

We are seeking a PhD student to work on an ARC-funded project investigating the genetics underpinning discrete colour morphs in a species of lizard (commencing in 2016).

Project description

To understand the speciation process, we need to understand how selection acts on traits involved in reproductive isolation (e.g. colour variation), and how this relates to the underlying genetic architecture. The project will utilise a well-characterised system with two genetically and phenotypically discrete lineages, the tawny dragon lizard. The species is polymorphic and lineages differ most notably in throat coloration (see figure below).

The main aims are to determine the nature of reproductive isolation between lineages, identify genes associated with colour morphs and investigate whether these gene regions are also involved in the process of speciation. The PhD project may involve fieldwork in semi-arid South Australia as well as captive maintenance of tawny dragons, laboratory work and/or bioinformatics depending on the student’s main interests.


The student will need to obtain an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA; $25,849 per annum, or an IPRS for international students) through The University of Melbourne; therefore a first class Honours or Masters Degree and/or evidence of publishing in international peer-reviewed scientific journals are essential. Experience in bioinformatics and/or working with lizards would be a bonus.

To apply

Interested applicants please submit:

  1. a brief cover letter outlining your research interests
  2. a comprehensive CV
  3. academic transcript and
  4. contact details of two referees (including a previous research supervisor).

For further information and to submit an application, please contact Dr Devi Stuart-Fox ( or Dr Claire McLean,.