The hired scientist will be engaged in a large-scale study of the lineage boundaries, mechanisms, rates, and consequences of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in marine bacterioplankton. Bacterial and archaeal HGT enables fast adaptation to environmental changes, as suggested by studies of human pathogens. Therefore HGT may also play an important role in bacterioplankton responses to natural and human-induced perturbations. However, microevolutionary processes are often overlooked in microbial ecology and biogeochemistry studies. The specific mechanisms, rates and consequences of microbial HGT in nature remain largely unknown, to a large degree due to methodological limitations. Unlike earlier, cultivation-based and metagenomic approaches, single cell genomics is well suited for in situ studies of HGT, because it recovers genomes from a randomized subset of unicellular individuals and successfully captures genome regions that have divergent evolutionary histories (e.g. HGT events) or are located on separate DNA molecules (e.g. plasmids). The project is led by Dr. Stepanauskas, utilizes single cell genomics and other cutting-edge technologies, and takes advantage of significant bioinformatics support and computational resources at Bigelow Laboratory and collaborating institutions. Candidates must have a PhD degree or post-degree experience in relevant fields, such as evolution, bioinformatics and microbiology.