2 PhD positions in phylogeography and systematics of Australian dung beetles.


The Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) invites applications for two 5-year PhD positions in evolutionary biology. Graduate students will be enrolled in the Biology Department at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) but primarily be based in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at CMNH.


The graduate students will work under the supervision of Dr. Nicole Gunter and will participate in an NSF funded project that investigates evolutionary history of Australian dung beetles to gain a better understanding of species distribution. Graduate students will conduct independent research on the evolution and biogeography of Australian dung beetles combining niche modelling, systematics and phylogenetic research on one of the two biogeographically distinct lineages.


Position 1: Northern Miocene element comprised of the cosmopolitan genus Onthophagus. This project will have a greater focus on colonization history, diversification and adaptation across the Australian continent.

Position 2: Southern Gondwanan element comprised of genera from Australasian endemic clade. This project will have a greater focus on systematics, ecological niche modelling and influence of habitat fragmentation on diversification.


By reconstructing the phylogeographic history of this model system, students will explore the heritability of environmental tolerance and its influence on species distribution and diversification. The research will include training in integrative systematics, molecular phylogenetics and ecological niche modelling and will involve international travel including field work, recuration of museum collections and collaboration. The projects involve remote field work in Australia so prior field experience is an asset, and an international passport will be required.


The successful candidates will be highly motivated and independent, have research experience and a strong academic record in evolutionary biology, entomology or ecology, a MSc in one of these field is preferred. Experience in systematics, phylogenomics or niche modelling is a plus but not essential.


If you are interested, you need to apply to posted advertisement on the Cleveland Museum of Natural History website (Requisition ID: 1104 Research Assistant I). Applications will include a CV, a 1 page cover letter, research experience and area of interest, and the names of two potential references. Preferred starting date Fall Semester 2020, interviews with selected candidates will be conducted as soon as possible.


Successful applicants will then be required enroll to the Department of Biology graduate degree program at Case Western Reserve University. Additional information on admissions can be also found in the Biology Department website ( Please note there will be exemption to the normal application deadline.


Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions about the positions. Feel free to share widely.





Nicole L. Gunter PhD

Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology

Cleveland Museum of Natural History 

1 Wade Oval Drive

Cleveland, OH 44106

216.231.4600 x. 3282

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