PhD opportunity in the Holwell lab

Wahoo! Greg Holwell at the University of Auckland is hiring a PhD student to work on a very exciting Marsden Funded project on the evolution of weaponry in Opiliones (harvestpeople). This is an exciting opportunity for a student to work on an incredible group of organisms in a beautiful part of the world.

CT scan of chelicerae

CT scanned jaws!

The details:

PhD Scholarship: Evolution of exaggerated male weaponry in harvestmen

$27,000 NZD per year for 3 years.

School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Supervisor: Dr Greg Holwell

I invite suitably motivated and dedicated applicants to apply for a fully funded PhD scholarship to work on the evolution of extreme male weaponry in New Zealand harvestmen (Opiliones). Males from the genera Pantopsalis and Forsteropsalis possess among the most exaggerated weapons in the animal kingdom. Their chelicerae can comprise 50% of their body weight and in some species are polymorphic with males displaying either elongated or short broad forms within the same population. The specific details of the student’s project is up to negotiation but would combine some of the following: field observations throughout New Zealand, behavioural experiments, microCT imaging, geometric morphometrics, molecular phylogenetics and/or comparative methods. The scholarship is available for application now. The successful candidate will have research experience, a strong academic record and possess a MSc or Honours research degree in behavioural ecology, evolutionary biology and/or morphology. The successful candidate will work under the supervision of Dr Greg Holwell (The University of Auckland, NZ), and will have access to a range of world-class facilities at the University of Auckland with the opportunity to travel for both fieldwork and collaboration. This position is funded through the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and the successful applicant is expected to begin in early 2016.

Please submit applications directly to Dr Greg Holwell at and provide a CV, academic transcript and a letter detailing your research interests and motivation for considering the project

monoscutid cave harvestman

An Opiliones with huge chelicerae hanging out on a cave wall in Waitomo