Graduate Research Assistantship position at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida

Funded by the National Science Foundation

“Systematics and evolution of the butterfly subtribe Euptychiina

A Graduate Research Assistantship (RA) position is available for a starting MSc or PhD student at the University of Florida's Department of Biology or Department of Entomology and Nematology. The RA will be based at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera of the Florida Museum of Natural History, and will form an integral part of the team working on the project "ARTS: Phylogeny and systematic revision of the diverse and cryptic Euptychiina (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Satyrinae)". This NSF-funded project will build phylogenies using morphology, Next-Gen and traditional molecular data, and revise the species- and genus-level systematics of the Euptychiina, one of the most diverse radiations of butterflies in Neotropical lowland forests and grasslands.

The successful candidate will be expected to complete a monographic systematic revision of one of several priority Euptychiina genera for their thesis research. The student will use both morphology and modern molecular methods, including receiving training in next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics, to infer phylogenies and delimit species, and will revise the classification with descriptions of new taxa where necessary. The student will also have excellent opportunities to broaden their research into the fields of biogeography, evolutionary ecology and conservation. The student’s assigned work will include curatorial tasks relevant to the project, including preparation, identification, databasing, digital imaging, integration and organization of Euptychiina butterfly specimens in the FLMNH.

The ideal candidate should be highly motivated and have a proven ability to conduct field- or collection-based studies of butterflies or another diverse organismal group, and a demonstrable enthusiasm to pursue their own research into the systematics of butterflies. Familiarity with the geography of the Neotropical region, an interest in tropical ecosystems and experience with curating insect collections would be valuable.

The RA is available for two years and includes an annual stipend, health insurance contribution and tuition waivers for all semesters. In addition, there is potential funding for field trips to South America, to visit museum collections in USA and Europe, and for visits to international and/or national conferences.

Applicants should submit the following:

1. A summary, 1-2 page curriculum vitae
2. A letter of interest describing past and current research and fieldwork experience and longer term career goals.
3. Three letters of recommendation from professional referees qualified to comment on your academic and personal abilities to conduct independent research, sent directly from the referee to Keith Willmott at kwillmott@flmnh.ufl.edu.
4. A copy of any piece of independent research, scientific article, thesis, presentation, poster, or other material that supports the application.

Submit application materials to Keith Willmott (kwillmott@flmnh.ufl.edu) by February 28th, 2013. For questions regarding this position please contact Keith Willmott at the above e-mail address. For further information about current research on butterflies at the FLMNH and on application procedures to the University of Florida, click here.