[Coral-List] PhD opportunity - please post on coral list

David Glassom Glassom at ukzn.ac.za
Thu Mar 12 10:09:59 EDT 2015

Coral bleaching, is considered an existential global threat to coral reef systems. Despite this, there are large gaps in our knowledge about the mechanisms at cellular, molecular and genetic levels underlying coral bleaching, and why some corals and some zooxanthellae are more tolerant of thermal stress than others.  There are several apparent similarities between the reactions of zooxanthellae to increasing water temperature and those of plants to heat-associated desiccation. Marine scientists can therefore learn from the research done on desiccation tolerance in a group of desert plants, known as resurrection plants, which is more advanced than that done on zooxanthellae due to the commercial possibilities of developing desiccation tolerant crop plants. This research will therefore use the techniques and insights already developed to study desiccation in plants and apply them to zooxanthellae to improve our understanding of differential tolerance of thermal stress among zooxanthellae.
We are looking for a PhD student for a project focussing on identifying proteins in zooxanthellae associated with heat resistance or with repair mechanisms and exploring gene expression linked to synthesis of these proteins in South African corals from a variety of habitats.  The research is a  collaboration between the School of Life Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the Department of molecular and cell biology at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and will be co-supervised by Dr David Glassom of UKZN and Prof Jill Farrant of UCT.  The student will be registered at UKZN and based in Durban and the research will be conducted partly in Durban and partly in Cape Town.
Electronic applications and enquiries for the PhD may be forwarded to Dr David Glassom (glassom at ukzn.ac.za<mailto:glassom at ukzn.ac.za>) or Prof Jill Farrant  (jill.farrant at uct.ac.za<mailto:jill.farrant at uct.ac.za>) by Wednesday 25 March. Applications should include i) a cover letter; ii) a Curriculum Vitae; iii) full academic transcript and degree certificates and iv) the names of at least two academic referees. Applicants from outside South Africa may need to have their degrees verified by the South African Qualification Authority.

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