[MARMAM] Georgetown University Biology Graduate Student Applicants Wanted

Caitlin Karniski ckarniski at gmail.com
Thu Oct 25 12:54:36 PDT 2018

Georgetown University Biology Graduate Student Applicants Wanted

Professor Janet Mann
(GU) and Dr. Céline Frère https://www.celinefrerelab.com/ (USC) are seeking
graduate student (PhD) applicants to Georgetown University to work on a
study of maternal effects in wild bottlenose dolphins, funded by the
National Science Foundation. Competitive applicants should have a strong
quantitative and theoretical background in genetics and behavioral ecology.
Refer to https://biology.georgetown.edu/graduate/applicants for details.
Email Janet Mann mannj2 at georgetown.edu for additional information. *Deadline
is December 1*.

General Project Description: While several studies link sociality to
fitness in long-lived mammals, maternal influence on inter- and
intra-individual variation in sociality (e.g. dynamic social patterns) and
fitness outcomes is relatively unexplored. Recent computational advances
allow this project to incorporate multi-level, dynamic variation to advance
understanding of how sociality evolved, i.e., transmission pathways. This
study system, a 35-year longitudinal study of wild bottlenose dolphins,
provides a unique opportunity to address these questions because of species
characteristics, and the size, detail, and long-term nature of the dataset.
This project will use: (1) novel quantitative genetics methodologies to
unravel the importance of maternal effects on social behavior while
accounting for both additive genetic variation and the mothers’ social
environment; (2) next-generation sequencing combined with demographic data
to construct accurate pedigree information from high- density single
nucleotide polymorphisms; (3) dynamic social network modeling (social
association/interaction matrices) to account for changing social attributes
of individuals rather than just static traits. As such, this study will be
a comprehensive exploration of how maternal effects impact social traits
over the lifespan and across more than one generation within an
evolutionary framework. In addition, this is the first study to do so in
wild long-lived mammal with extensive maternal social transmission, while
accounting for additive genetic variation. The results will provide
significant advances by extending our study of the genetic and non-genetic
mechanisms of inheritance, which play critical roles in evolution and
responses to environmental change.
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