Hartline-Lenz-Castelfranco Lab Opportunities

Information current as of 2018-02-20

Owing to delays in posting updates, status of positions indicated below may not be current; Please contact the person indicated for the latest information.

Areas of opportunity:

Four P.I.'s, Petra Lenz (Lab pages) , Ann Castelfranco, Andy Christie and Dan Hartline (Lab pages) , form a collaborative research group with position opportunities from time to time in several areas (email user names in the list below are all "at pbrc dot hawaii dot edu"):

Certain positions (e.g. student trainee) are area-specific, while others may involve work in two or more areas. Interdisciplinary work bridging areas is also possible. As with much federally-funded basic research, long-term employment cannot (unfortunately) be guaranteed. Positions are funded through the periodic competitive research grant application process. We welcome inquiries regarding current opportunities as well as those that would develop additional collaborative funded proposals for work in our areas of interest.


We employ several UH undergraduate student helpers to assist in laboratory culturing of copepods, their algal food, rotifers and larval clown fish. A minimum commitment of 1 year will be needed (owing to lengthy training timelines). Turn-around time is typically the end of spring semester each year, as students graduate. Please contact Petra Lenz for current openings. Spring break is a good time for this.


1. Post-docs and Graduate Students

General information: Our research projects cover a range of topics involving the relation between neural mechanisms, behavior and ecology of marine crustaceans, especially calanoid copepods. We currently work on both warm-water species available in Hawaii (including copepods in long-term cultures), and cold water copepod species from the Gulf of Alaska. Approaches include molecular (transcriptomics and bioinformatics), behavioral (high-speed video), respirometric, morphological (immunohistochemistry, confocal and electron microscopy) and electrophysiological ones, applied to problems in population cycles (diapause), predator-prey interactions and other aspects of marine crustacean behavioral and physiological ecology. Some projects extend more broadly to decapod crustaceans of Puget Sound and Gulf of Maine and to insect model systems (Andy Christie).

Mechanics: We accept graduate students through the Graduate Program of the Department of Zoology (Hartline, Lenz), the Oceanography Department (Lenz), and the Marine Biology Program (Lenz). Support on TAships is available (competitively) for incoming Zoology students. Grant support for students working on thesis research needs to be arranged in advance, and inquiry should be made about future prospects when you contact the lab. The Zoology Department grants both Masters and PhD degrees. Application deadline is December 15 of each year (click for application information). We have been able to host a number of internships for graduate students from other universities if they are at least partially supported by the home institution. Some additional stipend support may be available from us depending on our current funding situation. Postdocs may be supported on stipends, if available, and candidates are strongly encouraged to submit applications for their own support in collaboration with one of the faculty here.

Contact: Petra Lenz for general inquiries.


Copepod predator-prey interactions: Currently (2018) winding down) but an area of continuing interest, this project has focused on escape behavior in calanoid copepods responding to attacks by artificial (precise computer controlled) predator mimics and actual fish predators (e.g. clown fish). This project has also involved interaction with Dr. Daisuke Takagi of the UH Math Department. His work involves the mathematics of hydrodynamic flows as they affect biological organisms, including both copepod prey and fish predators in predator-prey interactions. For information, contact Petra Lenz.

Copepod diapause: A project focused on the annual descent by calanid copepods to deep (>400m) waters followed by dormancy during the early winter in the Gulf of Alaska. The aims are to understand the physiology underlying the different phases of preparing for, entering and emerging from dormancy. They involve a combination of transcriptomics, morphometry, respirometry and fluorescent tagging as well as oceanographic cruises with ship-board sampling on the Seward Line and experiments. For information, contact Petra Lenz.

Crustacean myelin A project examining the evolution of myelin in two crustacean taxa, the Malacostraca and the Copepoda. For background, see our Invertebrate Myelin and Myelin Evolution web pages. Current interest is focused on the molecules of invertebrate myelin, using transcriptomic approaches. For information, contact Dan Hartline.

2. Undergraduate Students

We welcome motivated undergraduates interested in hands-on research experience related to the projects in our lab. There are currently five avenues for such experience:

Representative undergraduate projects:

  1. Copepod escape behavior: Behavioral studies of escape reactions of developmental stages of copepods. This will involve cooperation with collaborators at Univ. of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)and Univ. of Texas (Port Aransas), using high-speed video imaging of swimming behavior and reactions to hydrodynamic stimuli and natural predators.
  2. Photosensory behavior Directed research course projects on responsiveness of copepods and fish (extension of recent projects):
    1. Copepod phototactic behavior
    2. Copepod circadian rhythmicity
    3. Fish predation on copepods
  3. Other copepod-related projects
    1. Copepod respiration
    2. Mining copepod (and other arthropod) transcriptomic and genomic databases
    3. "Bar coding" Hawaii copepods and other crustacean plankters; establishing geographic distributions of haplotypes
  4. Modeling projects
    1. Hydrodynamics of copepod swimming
    2. Conduction of nerve impulses in myelinated axons

    Foreign students: We are open to applications from students in study-abroad programs. Visas and financial support are always an issue, but these problems vary on an individual basis. We have had some success with such programs, but the initial arrangements must usually be made by the student. An EXCELLENT command of written and spoken English is essential.

    3. High-school Students

    We accept well-qualified high-school students to undertake special projects in our area of expertise, for example related to the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair. Prospective students need to present a well-organized plan for the research they would conduct in the lab, including what sort of problem(s) they would like to pursue, how they would go about it and how much time they have to spend on it. Projects should start no later than early fall for March State Science Fair presentations (school and regional fairs are usually January/February).

    Contact: Dan Hartline

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