Evolution, Development and Biomechanics of novel fish jaws
A PhD is available in the Fraser laboratory and with co-supervisor Nathan Jeffery, Department of Musculoskeletal Biology at the University of Liverpool. The project is also in collaboration with Zerina Johanson, Department of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum, London.
Summary: The teeth of fishes and the integrated jaw apparatus are examples of extreme evolutionary modification that have responded to functional and adaptive shifts within the wider community. This novel project aims to identify shifts in biomechanical pressures on adult jaw and tooth type that is linked to changes in the development of the feeding system. Our integrative project surrounds the core question of how development contributes to novel evolutionary changes in trophic adaptation. This project will link biomechanical adaptation of morphology to novel developmental modifications of the jaw apparatus in fishes to ask whether having a novel dentition (e.g. beak-like dentition in pufferfishes) offers an adaptive advantage compared to more standard yet highly efficient dentitions e.g. Piranha. This project will utilize advanced techniques, including biomechanical computer simulations of hard-tissues built from enhanced microCT data. We will use nano-indentation analyses to observe changes of material properties in comparative groups of fishes linked to re-specification of conserved developmental genes in species with novel tooth phenotypes. The candidate will utilise developmental techniques (gene expression and manipulation) to understand how the genetic basis of tooth and jaw development and continuous tooth regeneration impact the evolution and biomechanical function of fish feeding systems.
Please visit the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield ACCE DTP website for details of application: Click the pufferfish above.
The closing date for applications is January 20th 2014. For informal inquiries direct emails to Dr. Gareth Fraser: firstname.lastname@example.org Lead Supervisor: Dr. Gareth Fraser, Dept. Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield. Co-supervisor: Dr. Nathan Jeffery, Dept. Musculoskeletal Biology, University of Liverpool. Project collaborator: Dr. Zerina Johanson, Dept. Palaeontology, Natural History Museum.