Job announcement
LMU München, Division of Paleontology & Geobiology & GeoBio-CenterLMU

PhD - Evolutionary Bioinformatics (species identification in sponges)

Application deadline: 15.09.2017

PhD position in genomics of species identification in sponges (Phylum Porifera)

We invite applications for a 36-month PhD position in the project SpongeTaxonOMICs funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) within the framework of the Priority Program SPP 1991 Taxon-OMICS. The project is located at the Department of Earth- and Environmental Sciences (Chair of Paleontology and Geobiology) and the GeoBio-CenterLMU of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) München.

Sponges (Porifera) are difficult to identify and DNA barcoding does not reliably work for all lineages. In this project, we will develop a novel species identification assay based on target enrichment and Illumina sequencing. The project involves shallow sequencing of several Tethya genomes and comparisons against our recently sequenced Tethya wilhelma genome to identify informative loci for species identification. The developed assay will be verified against a test set of Tethya species and by museomics, testing samples of family Tethyidae primarily from the Queensland Museum (Brisbane, Australia) but also from other resources. The developed assay will subsequently be expanded to broader taxonomic scope. The Sponge Barcoding Database ( will be further developed and adapted to accommodate new data for species identification.

We are seeking a highly motivated applicant, ideally trained in evolutionary bioinformatics, with excellent and demonstrated bioinformatics expertise as well as a sound background in biology, who is willing to tackle the challenging task of working with the genomes of non-bilaterian animals. Laboratory skills are not necessary but will be considered a plus. The successful candidate will also contribute to the lab's ongoing genome sequencing efforts and contribute to expand the bioinformatic tools available in the lab. High-performance computing is available in the lab (LINUX cluster, Galaxy Server) as well as through the Leibniz Rechenzentrum (

The successful candidate will join an international and dynamic lab focussing on the geobiology and evolution of marine animals. More information about the lab can be found at There will also be ample opportunity to interact with PhD students and faculty of the new Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network (ITN) “Comparative Genomics of Non-Model Invertebrates” (IGNITE;, that starts on January 01, 2018.

Requirements: M.Sc. in Biology, Bioinformatics or a related field; demonstrated expertise and understanding of molecular evolution including phylogenetic methods, expertise in processing and analysing next generation sequencing data; excellent English language skills; programming skills (e.g., in commonly used bioinformatic languages such Perl, Python, R, etc.) and experience with LINUX. Evidence of this expertise must be provided. German language skills are not necessary, the working language of the group is English. The position is available for 36 months, and will be paid according to the German salary scheme TV-L E13 (65%).

Send application including letter of motivation, CV, if available PDFs of your most significant publications, and contact details of 2 referees in a single PDF (only) by email to Informal enquiries may be directed to Professor Gert Wörheide through the same email address. Application deadline is 15 September 2017.

The Department of Earth- and Environmental Sciences, Palaeontology & Geobiology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich offers an excellent multidisciplinary research environment, one of its particular strength being due to the close interaction between Geosciences and the Faculty of Biology in the framework of the GeoBioCenterLMU (

The LMU Munich is the leading research university in Germany, with a more than 500-year-long tradition, and builds upon its success in the Excellence Initiative, a Germany-wide competition promoting top-level university research. Munich has been repeatedly voted Germany's most livable city and is among the Top 5 most livable cities worldwide. The LMU Munich is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and has an affirmative action policy for the disabled.

Please note: Education is free in Germany and PhD students do not have to pay student fees, except a nominal registration fee of about 110€ per semester, which covers some costs for public transportation in Munich.

Prof. Dr. Gert Wörheide
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences,
Division of Paleontology & Geobiology & GeoBio-Center
LMU Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and
Director, Bavarian State Collections of Palaeontology and Geology
Richard-Wagner-Straße 10
80333 München

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