lunes, julio 13, 2015

Postdoctoral position in palaeontology. Why fossil colour?

Postdoctoral position in palaeontology

Applications are invited for a three-year postdoctoral research position funded by the European Research Council investigating the taphonomy of melanin pigmentation in basal chordates and vertebrates.

Why fossil colour?
Colour underpins visual signalling in extant animals and also has diverse physiological functions. Fossilised evidence of colour can therefore provide insights into the behaviour and physiology of ancient animals and is a major focus of interdisciplinary research worldwide.

The project
The successful candidate will undertake experimental taphonomic research on diverse basal chordates and vertebrates using in-house facilities for laboratory decay and high pressure-high temperature maturation. This experimental work will be complemented by analysis of fossils. The successful applicant will use tissue histology, SEM, TEM, electron probe microanalysis (EPMA), synchrotron-X-ray fluorescence and ToF-SIMS. In addition to research, the successful candidate will also have opportunities to undertake supervision of PhD and undergraduate projects, occasional undergraduate teaching, fieldwork on related projects, and to participate in public outreach events.

The School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES)
The School of BEES at University College Cork (UCC) is one of the most successful Schools in the university in terms of grant capture and PhD completion, and includes three new research groups funded by the European Research Council. It is located in three interconnected buildings on extensive grounds and comprises 30 academic staff, 20 postdoctoral researchers and >100 postgraduate students supported by 14 administrative and technical staff. New in-house laboratory facilities include tissue histology, palaeontology, environmental scanning electron microscopy, and a high-pressure laboratory dedicated to experimental maturation (under construction). Researchers in the palaeobiology group have access to additional analytical facilities elsewhere in the university, including field emission scanning electron microscopy (FEG-SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and microspectrophotometry.

Applicants should have a PhD in palaeobiology, preferably with considerable experience of research into taphonomy and / or basal chordates. The research requires skills in at least some of the microscopic and chemical analytical skills listed above. Candidates should demonstrate a track record of high-calibre research published in peer-reviewed journals, and should demonstrate excellent communication, organising, problem solving and computing skills. The application deadline is the 31st July 2015.

The successful candidate will join a vibrant team of researchers working on the evolution and taphonomy of colour in animals, and will benefit from an extensive global network of collaborators.

For further information, including detailed criteria, please contact Dr Maria McNamara (

Project start date: 1/1/2016
Project duration: 36 months
Supervisor: Dr Maria McNamara
Salary: €33,975 - €36,003
Application deadline: 31st July 2015