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The Eizaguirre Lab


For Non-EU/UK citizens potential PhD students:

There are a number of possibilities to join the group which can be discussed. The lab is part of different programmes: CONACYTCSC  and the NERC DTP. If you are interested, please contact Dr Christophe Eizaguirre at

*** PhD Studentship Opportunity. Exploring the Impact of Climate Change on Loggerhead Turtles – an Epigenetic Perspective ***

About Us:

As climate change accelerates, it is imperative to assess how various species respond to these environmental shifts. In this exciting research project, we focus on the loggerhead turtles nesting in the Cabo Verde archipelago. We aim to investigate the critical role of epigenetics, particularly DNA methylation, in understanding the adaptive potential of this population.

Project Description:

Our project will kick off by harnessing existing extensive datasets of whole-genome DNA methylation from nesting female loggerhead turtles and their offspring. Our research objectives encompass:

Epigenetic Basis of Sex Determination: Uncovering the epigenetic factors influencing sex determination in loggerhead turtles and their heritability.

Assessing Adaptive Potential: Investigating how epigenetics, genetics, and population structure interact to define the adaptative potential of this population.

As the project progresses, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to shape their own research. While the primary focus of this work relates to bioinformatics, the successful candidate will be encouraged to actively engage in fieldwork. You will have access to field infrastructure (e.g. hatcheries), allowing you to combine experimental approaches with cutting-edge genomic tools.

What We Offer:

Our group for Evolutionary and Conservation Genetics is based on the Mile End Campus of Queen Mary University of London. We focus on understanding the maintenance of species’ adaptive potential using laboratory model systems such as the stickleback fish and endangered species such as the loggerhead turtles. For more info visit:

The group is part of the School for Biological and Behavioural Sciences. This diverse environment favours interdisciplinary approach to evolutionary problems.

Inclusivity and Diversity:

We are committed to fostering an inclusive working environment that celebrates diversity. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented minority groups to apply. We believe that a diverse and inclusive research team enhances creativity, innovation, and the quality of our scientific contributions.


We are seeking a highly motivated and dedicated individual with a passion for both evolutionary biology, and/or conservation. The ideal candidate should have:

A strong bioinformatic background.

A good understanding of genetics, epigenetics, or related fields.

An enthusiasm for contributing to field research.

The ability to work collaboratively in a dynamic research environment.

To apply, students should have received a MSc in a relevant field (i.e. evolutionary biology, bioinformatics). We will also consider students who are about to finish their MSc.  Please submit your CV, a cover letter outlining your research interests, and contact information for at least two academic or professional references in a single document to Prof. Eizaguirre,  

For post-docs:

There are some options to join the group as a post-doctoral researcher. One example is the horizon 2020. If you are interested, please contact Dr Christophe Eizaguirre at

For MSc. students: 

If you are a MSc student and are interested in doing your thesis on sea turtles or sticklebacks contact within our group, you can contact Dr Chistophe Eizaguirre with your idea. These are some examples:

A central question in biology is how species can adapt to current environmental changes. Never before global conditions have changed as rapidly as nowadays. Although there is no doubt that microbes can adapt quickly to those changes, uncertainties remain for large vertebrates which already often suffer from major population decline. One challenge with those species is that lab experiments are not possible and therefore large knowledge comes from field studies. Using the loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) from Cape Verde, we investigate the evolvability of the species to possibly resist emerging diseases associated to global changes. To this end, we evaluate how the immune genes of the major histocompatibility (MHC) which play a crucial function at the root of the adaptive immune system evolve. Evolution has found additive significance to those genes since, in addition, to respond to parasite pressure, they are also involved in female mate choice. Investigating female mating strategy in relation to MHC genes, we will test for the possibility of populations to respond to emerging diseases.

How human-caused environmental change affects the ecological and evolutionary processes that create and maintain biodiversity is a pressing question in biology. The eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems is a widespread and ongoing problem that has manifold consequences for sustaining critical ecosystem services, including water quality and biodiversity. The loading of nutrients (e.g. phosphorus and nitrogen) to freshwater environments not only affects their chemical and physical condition, but also influences the nature of interactions between species such as host-parasite interactions which generate local adaptation patterns and may even lead to speciation. Pervasive effects of eutrophication can alter selection regimes and therefore, cause unexpected evolutionary changes in populations over short time scales. Here, using three-spined stickleback as a model system, we focus on how the interactive effects of nutrient loading and parasites might drive rapid evolutionary changes and breakdown of local adaptation.

Fieldwork in Cabo Verde 

If you are interested in gaining experience in the field of sea turtle conservation, some of the NGOs which we collaborate with offer some interesting opportunities in the form of internships and/or volunteering programmes.

You can find more information on their website, but here is a summary:

Project Biodiversity Rounded Logo

Location: Sal Island

Internship / Paid jobs: 4-month internship during the nesting season from June until October with a small stipend. 

Volunteering: volunteering programme to work during the nesting season (June until October) and/or during the hatching season (October until December). They offer other volunteering programmes.

Turtle Foundation Logo

Location: Boa Vista Island

Paid Jobs: they may offer some job opportunities. Check their website.

Volunteering: volunteering programme to work during the nesting season (June until October).

FMB logo

Location: Maio Island

Volunteering: volunteering programme to work during the nesting season (June until October). They offer other volunteering programmes.

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