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International Union for the Study of Social Insects

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Here you will find details of social insect related job vacancies, studentships and grants currently available. If you have any social insect related vacancies that you would like to have advertised here, please e-mail to INSECTS@bio.ku.dk. All advertisements must include either a closing date for applications, or a date on which they may be removed from the web site. This page was last modified on Thursday, November 29, 2018

Overview of vacancies on this page:

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship: Royal Holloway University of London

PhD: Behavioural Ecology of ants, Mainz

PhDs: Social behaviour, Swansea

PhD Studentship: Sociality and Ageing in Bumble Bees, University of East Anglia, UK

Graduate position: Invasive bees, invasive disease, Liverpool

PhDs & Postdocs: Collective Cognition in Social Insects, Weizmann Institute, Israel

Graduate position: Ant Social Evolution, Florida

Graduate position: Social Evolution Theory, St. Andrews

Graduate position:Evolutionary Genomics of Birds / Ants, Texas

Two Research Technicians: Ant Biodiversity, Okinawa

Postdoctoral researcher: Ant Venomics, Ohio State

Postdoc: Ant Adaptation to Hot and Arid Areas – Transcriptomics Data Analysis, Brussels

Two PhDs: Evolutionary Epigenetics and Genomics of Social Insects, Georgia

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship - School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London

The Leverhulme Trust scheme for Early Career Fellows is now open, and we are looking for potential applicants whose applications could be supported by Royal Holloway University of London (RHUL). The scheme enables early career researchers to undertake a significant piece of publishable work and covers 50% of fellow’s total salary costs up to £25k per year, with the balance being paid by RHUL. RHUL will support the submission of 10 applications on which RHUL is named as a host institution.

We are looking for researchers who would complement our current areas of expertise in social insect biology (see http://ellileadbeater.wixsite.com/insectcognition and https://www.markjfbrown.com for further information).

For further information about the scheme please see: https://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/early-career-fellowships

Key Eligibility (for full details on eligibility, please consult the website above): (i) you must not have held a full-time permanent academic post, (ii) applicants must either hold a degree from a UK higher education institution at the time of taking up the Fellowship or at the time of the application deadline must hold an academic position in the UK (e.g. fixed-term lectureship, fellowship) which commenced no less than 4 months prior to the closing date. Hence, those who do not hold a UK degree and whose UK academic position commenced after October 2018 are not eligible.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact either Dr Elli Leadbeater (elli.leadbeater@rhul.ac.uk) or Professor Mark Brown (mark.brown@rhul.ac.uk) with your CV (2 pages) and a one-page summary of the research project you would submit by 3rd December 2018 at the latest. All applicants will go through a competitive internal process, so we cannot guarantee that if we put you forward to RHUL that they will support your application to the Leverhulme Trust. However, we do have past success in this area - see Dr Lena Grinsted’s profile, who is our current Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (https://pure.royalholloway.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/lena-grinsted(622779c0-eed3-4dee-aa78-558348682dfd).html).

Posted 29/11/2018

PhD: Behavioural Ecology of ants, Mainz

Application deadline: December 15th, 2018

We invite applications for a 3-year PhD position (65% TV-L E13) on the role of chemical footprints for interspecific interactions in ants. While walking, ants leave chemical cues on the ground. Other individuals can detect these footprints and respond to them – by avoiding them, approaching them or altering their aggression. Such responses can influence colony fitness, but also competition between colonies or species. However, the behavioural, chemical and ecological factors behind these responses, as well as their consequences for intercolonial and interspecific competition are still largely unknown. The PhD candidate will investigate these questions using behavioural experiments, chemical analyses, and agent-based models. The project links behaviour, chemical ecology and community ecology in empirical and simulation studies.

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with an MSc degree (or equivalent) in Biology or a related field. The successful applicant should have a strong background in ecology, animal behaviour and/or evolutionary biology. Experience with social insects, statistics and/or programming are advantageous but not required. The working language of the laboratory is English. The University of Mainz aims to increase the number of women in science, and applications by women are strongly encouraged. Similarly, qualified candidates with disabilities will be preferred. The successful applicant will join an international and dynamic scientific environment (see http://www.bio.uni-mainz.de/zoo/evobio/index_ENG.php for more information on our research). Mainz is a beautiful city located at the Rhine River with many students and a rich social and cultural life.

If interested, please send an application as a single pdf file containing your CV, a 1- page motivation letter, your previous research activities, BSc and MSc grades, publications (if applicable), and the names and email addresses of two potential referees. Applications should be sent to Dr. Florian Menzel (menzelf@uni-mainz.de) until December 15th, 2018. The ideal starting date for the position is March 1st 2019, but is negotiable. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions.

PD Dr. Florian Menzel
Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution
Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz
Hanns-Dieter-Hüsch-Weg 15
55128 Mainz, Germany

Posted 29/11/2018

PhDs: Social behaviour, Swansea

There are several funded PhD opportunities available at the moment to work with me (Dr Hazel Nichols) at the Universties of Swansea and/or Bielefeld.

First, I am looking for students with excellent CVs (first class degree and/or distinction at Masters level, plus relevent experience) to apply for a doctoral scholarship at Swansea University https://www.swansea.ac.uk/postgraduate/scholarships/research/swansea-university-research-excellence-scholarships-phd-2019.php. The topic of the PhD is flexible so this is a great opportunity to design your own project! I can provide opportunities investigating topics such as scent communication, inbreeding, mating/social systems, cooperation and conservation genetics in a variety of species (e.g. banded mongooses, meerkats, mole-rats, hedgehogs, pilot whales, social spiders and scorpions). Take a look at my website https://hazelnichols.weebly.com/ for further details. Deadline 4th January but contact me well in advance of this.

If you're interested, send me an email (h.j.nichols@swansea.ac.uk), sending me your CV, and we can discuss ideas.

Second, along with Dr Jamie Winternitz, we are advertising for a PhD studentship in scent communication in wild banded mongooses (see http://evol.mcmaster.ca/~brian/evoldir/GradStudentPositions/BielefeldU.BehavEvolEcol). The student will investigate genetic mechanisms behind scent communication, including the involvement of the MHC and microbiome. There will be the opportunity for both field work in Uganda and lab work in Germany. Deadline 15th December.

Best wishes,


Posted 29/11/2018

PhD Studentship: Sociality and Ageing in Bumble Bees, University of East Anglia, UK

A PhD studentship to start in October 2019 in Andrew Bourke's group in the School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, is open for applications. The project is entitled 'The ageing bee: how does sociality affect ageing in social organisms?'  Using the bumble bee Bombus terrestris, the student will employ experimental and genetic methods to test whether, in social organisms, longevity and ageing depend primarily on properties of the individual or group. Applicants will be competitively selected for funding of the studentship by the ARIES NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (https://www.aries-dtp.ac.uk/).

For further details of the project (BOURKEUBIO19ARIES) and instructions on how to apply, please follow this link: https://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=101811

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 8 January 2019.

Posted 29/11/2018

Graduate position: Invasive bees, invasive disease, Liverpool

The ecology and evolution of parasites associated with bumblebees in South America, Japan, and Europe

Bumblebees are crucial pollinators in both wild and agricultural systems. Bumblebees are also facing widespread declines, in part due to infectious diseases, which challenges the stability of wild floral communities, and the animals that depend on them, and food security. The common European buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) has been successfully commercially reared and is used extensively to pollinate crops around the world. In many of these regions, B. terrestris has established and spread, and local bumblebees have declined. One potential cause of the local declines of bumblebees is the introduction of European diseases.

This studentship will use next-generation sequencing approaches to identify parasites that are associated with native bumblebees in South America and Japan, where B. terrestris is invasive and European parasites can now be found, and European bumblebees, where these parasites may have originated. This program of work will characterize whole communities of parasites associated with a community of hosts and how these have changed with the invasion of European bees. As such, it will represent a step-change in understanding multi-host multi-parasite communities, their interactions, and present clear data about the role of infectious disease in bumblebee declines.

The ideal student for this project would be one who wishes to apply their molecular biology/genomics skills to large-scale ecological problems. This project will suit a student with interests in host-parasite interaction, evolutionary ecology, genetics, bioinformatics, and genomics. Existing skills in any of those areas would be helpful but independence, curiosity, a healthy sense of humor, and a certain amount of grit are usually more important.

The successful student will have the opportunity to work closely with collaborators in South America and Japan and develop skills in evolutionary ecology, host-parasite interaction, immunology, genomics, transcriptomics, and metagenomics. The Institute of Integrative Biology offers a lively community of researchers to interact with, providing many opportunities for collaboration.

Applicants should apply through this website:
Or via email at: sethb@liv.ac.uk

Application deadline: 9 January 2019

Posted 29/11/2018

PhDs & Postdocs: Collective Cognition in Social Insects, Weizmann Institute, Israel

The Feinerman lab at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel is looking to hire PhD students and postdocs for a recently funded ERC consolidator project ANTSolve.

The aim of this project is to gain a deeper understanding of the concept of collective cognition in social insects. We approach this question by studying cooperative transport by groups of ants, a setting which allows us to compare the navigational problem solving capabilities of groups of different sizes down to single ants. High level tracking,  data analysis, and theoretical considerations are employed to draw out the connections between these organizational scales.

The project will be performed in the Feinerman Social Insect Behavior group which is part of the Department of Physics of Complex Systems and is composed of people with shared interests and highly variable backgrounds: physics, neuroscience, biology, math, and chemistry.


If you are interested in joining our team, it would be beneficial to have expertise in one or more of the following.

If interested, please send an email of interest (as a single pdf file including a letter of motivation, a short summary of research interests, a CV, and contacts of two potential referees) to ofer.feinerman@weizmann.ac.il

Posted 29/11/2018

Graduate position: Ant Social Evolution, Florida

Interested in Using Genetic Tools to Study Social Evolution in Ants? Apply for Graduate School at the University of Florida (UF)

The Yan Lab in the UF Biology is seeking graduate researchers to study how evolutionary expansion of odorant receptor genes in ants regulates social communication and neural development, as well as how behavioral plasticity and reproductive longevity were evolved in eusocial insects.

Information on Dr. Yan's research can be found at:
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28802035 (Developing Genetic Tool in Ants)
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28802043 (Odorant Receptor)
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25200663 (Behavioral Epigenetics)

Interested students are strongly recommended to apply for the graduate school at the University of Florida for Fall 2019. The deadline for applications to UF Biology is December 1, so please contact me soon! Email: hua.yan@ufl.edu

More information can be found at the website: https://biology.ufl.edu/graduate/application/

The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Institution. Individuals from under-represented groups in STEM are particularly encouraged to apply.

Posted 10/11/2018

Graduate position: Social Evolution Theory, St. Andrews

Natural selection explains the appearance of design in the living world. But at what level is this design expected to manifest - gene, individual, society - and what is its function? Social evolution provides a window on this problem, by pitting the interests of genes, individuals and societies against each other.

I invite applications for a fully-funded 3.5 year PhD studentship in my research group at the School of Biology, University of St Andrews, UK. I'm looking for a biology graduate who has a strong interest in social evolution theory, or an economics / mathematics / philosophy / physics graduate with a strong interest in social behaviour.

Current research in my lab involves development of general theory - using kin selection, multilevel selection, game theory and theoretical population genetics approaches - and application of mathematical and simulation models that are tailored to the biology of real organisms, from microbes to insects to humans (see http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/gardner/ for more details). To this end, I strongly encourage interactions within the wider grouping of theoretical and empirical biologists in St Andrews, as well as with collaborators further afield.

If social evolution really fascinates you, and you are a careful thinker, then you will flourish in the type of project that I enjoy supervising.

Please direct informal enquiries to Prof Andy Gardner (andy.gardner@st-andrews.ac.uk, @drandygardner). For more details, please visit https://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID1171

Closing date for applications is 2 December 2018.

Prof Andy Gardner
School of Biology
University of St Andrews
Dyers Brae
St Andrews KY16 9TH
United Kingdom

Email. andy.gardner@st-andrews.ac.uk
Web. http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/gardner/
Twitter: @drandygardner
Tel. +44 (0) 1334 463 385
Fax. +44 (0) 1334 463 366

Posted 10/11/2018

Graduate position:Evolutionary Genomics of Birds / Ants, Texas

The Manthey lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at Texas Tech University is recruiting highly-motivated individuals for graduate studies (PhD or MS) in genomics to begin in Summer or Fall 2019. We use computational biology, fieldwork, and labwork to answer fundamental questions in evolution, ecology, and conservation biology.

The major themes of our current research are: (1) evolutionary genomics and transposable element evolution in woodpeckers, (2) genomics of Ethiopian highland birds, (3) ant and microbe co-evolution and genomics. Graduate students would be expected to develop novel research questions under these broad themes. For more information about the lab?s research and opportunities, please check our site: https://mantheylab.org/ We have financial support for multiple students through research and teaching assistantships, including additional summer support and research funds.

Interested individuals should email a CV/resume to Dr. Joseph Manthey (jdmanthey@gmail.com or joseph.manthey@ttu.edu), as well as a short description of how your interests and the research topics of our research group complement each other.

The Department of Biological Sciences has a strong and dynamic group of scientists with a focus in ecology and evolutionary biology. The department has strengths in multiple areas of genomics, bioinformatics, and specialized disciplines of ecology and evolutionary biology. The departmental website can be found here: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/biology/

Deadline for applications: Our department has year-long open admissions but has deadlines to be considered for scholarships and fellowships. For Fall 2019, this deadline is January 15, 2019. Please find all application details here: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/biology/academics/graduate/prospective-students/

All qualified applicants are encouraged to contact me and apply. While academic and GRE scores have a role in admissions, motivation, passion, and research experience are highly valued. Texas Tech University is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we welcome applications from all qualified persons and will ensure that all applicants are treated fairly, equally, and respectfully.

Joseph D. Manthey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences
Texas Tech University
Email: jdmanthey@gmail.com | joseph.manthey@ttu.edu

Posted 11/11/2018

Two Research Technicians: Ant Biodiversity, Okinawa

The Economo Lab (http://arilab.unit.oist.jp/) at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (http://www.oist.jp/) is seeking qualified applicants for two technician positions. The lab works at the interface of ecology, evolution, and natural history, with an empirical focus on ant biodiversity. We use a variety of approaches to understanding biodiversity including field expeditions, collections-based research, x-ray micro-CT, 3D modeling and morphometrics, phylogenomics, biodiversity informatics, and quantitative theory. Although two positions are described below, we are flexible with regards to division of duties among the two hired individuals. Research technician:

Description: The hired individual will get involved with a number of research activities in the lab including: curating an entomological research collection, managing lab databases, procuring lab supplies and materials, and performing miscellaneous tasks to support lab research. In addition, there are exciting opportunities to become an expert in X-ray micro-CT scanning and downstream applications such as segmentation, 3D modeling (e.g. https://sketchfab.com/arilab), morphometrics, 3D printing, and interacting with biodiversity data in virtual and augmented reality.

Qualifications: An undergraduate degree or higher in a scientific or technical field and experience with scientific research are required. Although there is no requirement for proficiency in a specific computational program/language, it is important that the person has strong computational skills and a high ability to learn different software and methods independently. Although not required by any means, experience with any of the following would be highly desirable: biodiversity collections management, 3D modeling, 3D animation, data management, computational phylogenetics, geometric morphometrics, GIS, HPC, VR/AR applications.

Research computing technician:

Description: The hired individual will be responsible for computational support of lab research including; designing and maintaining research databases, maintaining lab websites, assist with design and maintenance of bioinformatic data analysis pipelines, application support for utilizing HPC resources, and desktop support to lab members. In addition, there are opportunities to lead or participate in development of new technologies that facilitate and accelerate biodiversity research.

Qualifications: An undergraduate degree or higher in a scientific or technical field and experience with scientific research computing are required. As this position is not tied to a single application or task, the ideal candidate would have a good baseline of programming skills, including familiarity with both compiled and interpreted languages, and ability to learn independently. Proficiency with Linux, SQL-based database design and administration, and at least basic familiarity with server administration are required. Experiences with one or more of the following would be highly desirable but are not required; GIS, bioinformatics, phylogenetics, ecoinformatics, parallel computing, and statistical computing.

Job Data: OIST is a newly established international graduate university located in the resort area of Onna-son, Okinawa, Japan, and offers a high quality of life and good working conditions in an international environment. Logistical and financial assistance with relocation will be provided, along with a competitive salary and benefits package. OIST is an English-language working environment, so knowledge of Japanese is not required.

To apply, please send a cover letter, CV, and list of three references with contact information to <economo@oist.jp> in an email with subject "Research Technician Application" or "Research Computing Technician Application", as appropriate. Informal inquiries are also welcome at the same address. Application review will begin immediately and will remain open until the positions are filled.

Evan P. Economo
Assistant Professor
Biodiversity and Biocomplexity Unit
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University
1919-1 Tancha
Okinawa, Japan 904-0495

Posted 11/9/2018

Postdoctoral researcher: Ant Venomics, Ohio State

Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH USA

The Adams lab broadly aims to understand the evolution of traits that drive community assembly in ant-centric symbiotic species networks. This position focuses on comparative questions relating to venom evolution in Megalomyrmex ants.

The 1-2 year project will explore the variation in transcripts expressed in the venom glands of free-living and parasite species. Social parasites exploit ant societies by invading and stealing resources. Megalomyrmex ants enter host nests using chemical weaponry made from alkaloid-based venom (e.g., pyrrolidines, pyrrolizidines, piperidines, and pyrrolines). We have characterized the venom alkaloids of many species and would now like to explore and compare transcriptomes to understand the underlying genes responsible for venom toxicity.

Dr. Adams leads a collaborative team in a supportive research environment at the Museum of Biological Diversity at The Ohio State University. She is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive team that is productive, happy and will attain their career goals.

Interested candidates should have a strong publication record appropriate for your career stage and ideally experience in -omics techniques (e.g., transcriptome sequencing, genome assembly, comparative genomics and evolution). Top candidates will have excellent communication skills, enthusiasm for symbiosis research and a compelling argument that explains how their skillset will advance this line of work while also proposing additional projects of interest.

The successful applicant will work closely with Dr. Adams and her students in research design; field collections in Panama and/or Costa Rica; the establishment and maintenance of laboratory experiments and bioassays; data collection, management and statistical analyses; and possibly the supervision of live ant colonies.

Applications are encouraged from motivated individuals who have a Ph.D. or are nearing completion of their Ph.D. Please send a single pdf including 1) your CV, 2) a letter of motivation (your interests, past experience, and why you want to work with venomics), and 3) the names, addresses and phone numbers of three references. Women and underrepresented minorities are particularly encouraged to apply. Review of applications will begin by 15 September 2018 and will continue until the position is filled. Starting date is flexible.

Send material to:
Dr. Rachelle M. M. Adams: adams.1970@osu.edu
The Ohio State University
Learn more about the lab: megalomyrmex.osu.edu

Posted 11/9/2018

Postdoc: Ant Adaptation to Hot and Arid Areas – Transcriptomics Data Analysis, Brussels

The Evolutionary Biology & Ecology lab (ULB Belgium) and the Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels (ULB and VUB Belgium, ibsquare.be) are recruiting a 2-year postdoc researcher to study how desert ants have evolved their extreme degree of thermophily. The project is based on a comparative approach to examine how similar desert conditions have led either to the evolution of convergent traits in different lineages or to the adoption of alternative strategies. The postdoc will focus on the computational analysis of sequencing data of the heat-shock responses (HSRs) in ants (e.g. RNA-seq de novo assembly, differential expression analysis, clustering).

Candidates should have a strong expertise with RNA-seq (including library preparation and computational analysis of sequencing data) and must have effective written and oral communication skills, with a demonstrated ability to publish peer-reviewed papers. He/She must have a PhD pending or obtained within the last 3 years in computer science, biology or bioinformatics. The applicant may not have resided or pursued his/her main activity (studies, employment, etc.) in Belgium for more than 24 months during the last 3 years immediately preceding the first period of postdoctoral residence.

The post-doc will be based in the Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels under direct supervision of Matthieu Defrance (Associate Professor) and Serge Aron (Research Director of the Belgian NSF/FNRS). He will work closely with a PhD student, who will focus on empirical data collection. The position is funded for 2 years. Start date is early 2019. The candidate's salary for the first year will be ~2 420 euros, net of tax; it will increase the second year in accordance with the legal rules in force in Belgium.

To apply, please send a cover letter, CV, and names and contact information for three references to Serge Aron (saron@ulb.ac.be) and Matthieu Defrance (matthieu.dc.defrance@ulb.ac.be). The application deadline is December 1st, 2018. ULB is an Equal Opportunity Employer: all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

For more information, please visit the Evolutionary Biology & Ecology lab website (http://ebe.ulb.ac.be) and the Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels website (ibsquare.be), or contact Serge Aron (saron@ulb.ac.be) or Matthieu Defrance (matthieu.dc.defrance@ulb.ac.be).

Posted 11/9/2018

Two PhDs: Evolutionary Epigenetics and Genomics of Social Insects, Georgia

NSF-supported graduate studies in evolutionary epigenetics and genomics of social insects in the Hunt Lab at the University of Georgia.

The Hunt Lab is broadly interested in how evolution produces variation in insect form and function. We use ants and bees as models for studying how evolutionary mechanisms shape variation in social behavior. We have two, recently-funded projects in the lab to support graduate students; both use functional genomic and transcriptomic methods to study the genetic and epigenetic factors that underlie differences in social structure.

The first project, in collaboration with Ken Ross at UGA, explores how a supergene and phenotypic plasticity influence variation in colony queen number and social behaviors in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

The second project, in collaboration with Sarah Kocher at Princeton University, investigates how gene regulatory evolution has influenced evolutionary variation in social behavior in halictid bees.

The Hunt Lab is a young and dynamic research group dedicated to fostering the success of its lab members. We are a part of the Entomology Department, one of many departments in the life sciences at the University of Georgia. The diversity and multitude of faculty at UGA results in diverse areas of expertise and coursework availability to help students reach their full potential. Students will take coursework and receive training in entomology, genetics, and bioinformatics.

Requirements: An interest in broad evolutionary questions and a strong desire to develop bioinformatic expertise. Applicants must meet requirements of admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia (see http://www.caes.uga.edu/departments/entomology/graduate.html). The start date is flexible.

More information about the Hunt Lab can be found online at http://huntlab.uga.edu. Prospective applicants should email Brendan Hunt at huntbg@uga.edu with a statement of interest.

Posted 11/9/2018

Vacancies will be advertised on this page until the closing date for applications, or, where no firm closing date is given, for a maximum of 3 months. If a position has been filled in the meantime, please let the webmaster know.

This site is maintained and promoted on the Internet by David Nash. email to: DRNash @ bio.ku.dk
Last modified Thursday, November 29, 2018