Terrestrial Vertebrate Biologist at California State University, Long Beach

The Department of Biological Sciences at California State University, Long Beach invites applications for a terrestrial vertebrate biologist at the Assistant Professor level. We seek broadly trained individuals who address fundamental research questions in these areas and have a strong interest in teaching at a research-oriented, comprehensive university. Review of applications will commence December 12, 2011. Position open until filled. For further information please see the position description at http://www.csulb.edu/divisions/aa/personnel/jobs/posting/921/index.html

Postdoctoral Position at the University of S√?¬£o Paulo (USP)

A 2-year post-doctoral fellowship is available starting in November, 2011 as part of a FAPESP (FAPESP :: Funda√?¬ß√?¬£o de Amparo √?¬† Pesquisa do Estado de S√?¬£o Paulo) (http://www.fapesp.br) grant to study micro and macroevolutionary processes underlying diversification in cnidarians. The specific post-doctoral project focuses on the development of novel analytical approaches to incorporate rRNA secondary structures into phylogenetic analysis. The candidate is expected to help mentor and manage an active team of graduate and undergraduate students working on a variety of grant-supported projects. The candidate will also have the opportunity to develop and lead collaborative research project(s) if directly related to cnidarian phylogenetics and/or biodiversity.

Tenure Position National University of Singapore

The Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS), invites applications for faculty positions at the junior (tenure-track) or senior level in Environmental Biology and Biodiversity Studies. NUS is a world-class university that is strategically located within a tropical biodiversity hotspot. Candidates with a strong research background in environmental and biodiversity research and a strong commitment to undergraduate and postgraduate education are invited to apply. Currently, Singapore has allocated substantial funding for research in aquatic ecosystems, climate change, and the sustainability of urban environments.

Assistant Professor in Systematics, Department of Biology, University of Vermont

The Department of Biology of the University of Vermont seeks applications for a tenure- track Assistant Professor position in Systematics and Evolutionary Biology of arthropods, especially insects. The position will be open in the fall of 2012. The successful candidate will have expertise in classical and molecular systematics, including analysis of complex data sets. Candidates pursuing phylogenomics and innovative methods in bioinformatics in combination with taxonomy are especially encouraged to apply. Department information at: http://www.uvm.edu/~biology.
All applicants are expected to: 1) hold a Ph.D. degree in relevant disciplines and have two or more years of postdoctoral experience; 2) develop a competitively funded research program; 3) teach undergraduate courses (chosen from among general biology, evolution, systematic entomology, and others in the candidate√Ę‚?¨‚?Ęs expertise); 4) teach, mentor and advise undergraduate and graduate students; and 5) oversee a natural history collection of historic significance. Candidates must apply online at http://www.uvmjobs.com. Search for the position using department name (Biology) only. Attach a cover letter with a statement of research focus and teaching interests (one document), a curriculum vitae, representative publications, and the contact information of three references.

Call for Symposia for the 2012 SSB Annual Meeting, Ottawa, Canada

The Society of Systematic Biologists invites proposals for symposia at the 2012 Evolution meeting to be held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada from 6-10 July 2012.

Deadline: for full consideration, please submit proposals by Sept 15, 2011.

Proposals should include (1) a descriptive title, (2) one or two paragraphs explaining the purpose of the symposium and its relevance to systematics, (3) a list of presentations including proposed speakers, their institutions or affiliations, and their presentation titles, and (4) an indication of whether the speakers have been invited and whether they have agreed to participate.

Graduate Assistantships: Systematics of North American water mites at University of Arkansas

Two NSF-funded PhD positions are available to work on a systematic revision of North American water mites in the family Torrenticolidae with Dr. Ashley Dowling at the University of Arkansas in the Department of Entomology. The project starts in January 2012 and is in collaboration with Dr. Andrea Radwell (Univ. of Arkansas) and Dr. Ian Smith (Canadian National Collection).
Water mites (Acari: Hydrachnidiae) are among the most numerous, diverse, ecologically important √Ę‚?¨" and unknown √Ę‚?¨" groups of arthropods in freshwater ecosystems, however, there are very few water mite experts worldwide, and even fewer trained in modern systematics. The objective of this PEET project is to revise, monograph, and disseminate data on a North American water mite family, Torrenticolidae, while training two PhD students in water mite systematics using modern taxonomic and phylogenetic methods.
Research will include 1) field collection in the North American Rocky Mountains, Yukon and Alaska, the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, and Appalachian Mountain drainages in Georgia and Florida; 2) species descriptions focusing on a digital workflow and cybertaxonomic methods to speed up the time from discovery to dissemination of data; and 3) a full phylogenetic revision of Torrenticolidae based upon molecular and morphological data.
Previous experience with mites is not required for work on this project. We are primarily looking for students with a good background in biology and a strong interest in systematics and natural history. Students should be self motivated and possess a desire to become an expert in a group very few know much about.
For more information about the project or the graduate assistantships, please contact Ashley Dowling at 479-575-2482 or adowling@uark.edu. Information about the University of Arkansas can be obtained at http://www.uark.edu/ and the Department of Entomology at http://entomology.uark.edu/. The PhD positions are fully funded and include student stipend, healthcare and tuition at the University of Arkansas.

Modern Taxonomy course programme 2011-2012

The Distributed European School of Taxonomy (DEST), originally funded by the EC in the framework of the EDIT project, has launched the Modern Taxonomy course programme 2011-2012 to provide future professionals with fundamental expert knowledge on basic taxonomy.

The course programme targets topics such as: nomenclature; describing, writing and illustrating biodiversity; collection conservation.

More info at: http://www.taxonomytraining.eu/content/modern-taxonomy-course-programme-2011-2012

NSF Graduate Assistantship studying Hawaiian land snails

A National Science Foundation funded graduate student position is available to work on systematics, evolution and conservation of Hawaiian land snails in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Cowie and Dr. Ken Hayes at the University of Hawaii.

For full details and application instructions please go to http://www.hawaii.edu/cowielab/HLS_GA_notice.htm

A Philosophical Critique of Philogenetic Systematics

Zander, R. H. 2010 [2011]. Structuralism in Phylogenetic Systematics. Biological Theory 5: 383-394. [Abstract:] Systematics based solely on structuralist principles is nonscience because it is derived from first principles that are inconsistent in dealing with both synchronic and diachronic aspects of evolution, and its evolutionary models involve hidden causes, and unnamable and unobservable entities. Structuralist phylogenetics emulates axiomatic mathematics through emphasis on deduction, and "hypotheses" and "mapped trait changes" that are actually lemmas and theorems. Sister-group only evolutionary trees have no caulistic element of scientific realism. This results in a degenerate systematics based on patterns of fact or evidence being treated as so fundamental that all other data may be mapped to the cladogram, resulting in an apparently well-supported classification that is devoid of evolutionary theory. Structuralism in systematics is based on a non-ultrametric analysis of sister-group informative data that cannot detect or model a named taxon giving rise to a named taxon, resulting in classifications that do not reflect macroevolutionary changes unless they are sister lineages. Conservation efforts are negatively affected through epistemological extinction of scientific names. Evolutionary systematics is a viable alternative, involving both deduction and induction, hypothesis and theory, developing trees with both synchronic and diachronic dimensions often inferring nameable ancestral taxa, and resulting in classifications that advance evolutionary theory and explanations for particular groups.