Sexual conflict and the “paradox of sex”: insights from stick-insects

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PROJECT DESCRIPTION

This project addresses a central question in biology: why is sexual reproduction so prevalent in animals? It will test an exciting new hypothesis based on sexual conflict that could revolutionize our understanding of the evolution of animal reproduction. The sexual conflict hypothesis will be tested for the first time through a combination of genetic, behavioural, life-history, and microbiome analyses conducted in natural populations of stick-insects in North Queensland and in the laboratory, under the mentorship of experts in evolutionary, population-genetic, and microbiome analysis. It will also contribute to monitoring of natural insect populations.

IDEAL CANDIDATE

We are looking for a keen, motivated student interested in undertaking cutting-edge evolutionary research and acquiring the wide range of skills needed to succeed in an academic research career. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in evolutionary ecology and genetics, preferably including familiarity with sexual coevolution theory, and will be willing to carry out field-work in the tropical rainforest of north Queensland, Australia, as well as laboratory experiments and assays at UNSW in Sydney. Experience working with insects, and conducting field-work, will be an asset. Strong conceptual skills, quantitative/statistical skills, and proficiency in scientific writing, will be very valuable as well. Students with backgrounds in other areas of biology are encouraged to apply if they have a keen interest in the project, and demonstrated capacity for research (publications, experience, etc.). The student will have an opportunity to learn specialized skills and techniques required for this project.
Supervisory team
Russell
Bonduriansky

Science
Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences
Suhelen
Egan

Science
Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences
Lee Ann
Rollins

Science
Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences
r.bonduriansky@unsw.edu.au