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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 Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Overview of vacancies on this page:

Postdoc: Defence of honeybees against Vespa velutina, Bordeaux Aquitaine, France

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Insect-Microbe Eco-Physiology, University of Copenhagen

Postdoc: Honey bee virus – behavior interactions, University of Illinois

Graduate Opportunities, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Houston

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

Postdoc: Defence of honeybees against Vespa velutina, Bordeaux Aquitaine, France

16 months post doc: Defence behaviour and personality in Apis mellifera against the invasive predator Vespa velutina

Following its introduction a decade ago, the yellow-legged hornet, Vespa velutina, has been spreading through Europe. This invasive predator is mainly known for chasing domestic honeybees, Apis mellifera. Locally, predation pressure can reach 20 hornets in front of each hive. While its hunting behaviour is quite understood now, some points are still unclear especially how hornets choose their prey. Indeed, we have previously shown that the distribution of hornets within the apiary was not homogeneous and uncorrelated to honeybee colony strength. We suggest that this pattern is link to colony behaviour, some of them being probably more prone at defending themselves against this predator. Honeybee colonies behave as a superorganism and their personality traits may greatly vary among colonies. Behavioural traits like boldness, activity and aggressiveness are thus interesting to quantify, as well as the ability of the colony to recruit enough workers for defence purpose which is probably trading-off with the maintenance of foraging activity (which ensures colony survival).

The aims of this work are divers. First, it will provide new insights on how hornets adjust their hunting effort depending on prey behaviour, which opens interesting perspectives for the study of cognitive ability in prey-predator systems. Second, identifying the factors driving heterogeneous predation pressure in apiaries would be a mean to propose new pest management directions for beekeepers. Defence behaviour in honeybees has been shown to have a genetic basis thus different lineages may produce different level of defence. If confirmed, it may open perspectives for honeybee livestock selection based on behavioural traits thus limiting the impact on bee colonies.


The post-doctoral fellow will be integrated in the European Arc Atlantique 'Positive' project. We are looking for a young PhD in behavioural ecology with skills in fieldwork, statistical analyses (mixed effects models) and a previous experience with social insects. Driving licence for more than 2 years is also required.

He/She will be located in UMR INRA Save at INRA Bordeaux Aquitaine research centre (Villenave d'Ornon, 10 km from Bordeaux city). Supervision will be made by Dr Denis Thiéry (UMR 1065 SAVE, Villenave d'Ornon) and Dr Karine Monceau (La Rochelle Université, UMR 7372 CEBC, Villiers-en-Bois).

Extended deadline: March 1st; Interview: 2nd week of March (skype)

Duration: 16 months beginning in May 2019

Salary: 2000 € net/month.

Send application (CV and cover letter) to : Denis Thiéry (denis.thiery@inra.fr) and Karine Monceau (karine.monceau@univ-lr.fr)

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Denis_Thiery and http://www.kmonceau.fr


Arca, M., Papachristoforou, A., Mougel, F., Rortais, A., Monceau, K., Bonnard, O., Tardy, P., Thiéry, D., Silvain, J.-F. & Arnold, G. 2014. Defensive behaviour of Apis mellifera against Vespa velutina in France: testing whether European honeybees can develop an effective collective defence against a new predator. Behavioural Processes, 106, 122-129.

Breed, M.D. & Rogers, K.B. 1991. The behavioral genetics of colony defense in honeybees: genetic variability for guarding behaviour. Behavior Genetics, 21, 295–303.

Breed, M.D., Guzmán-Novoa, E. & Hunt, G.J. 2004. Defensive behaviour of honey bees: organization, genetics, and comparisons with other bees. Annual Review of Entomology, 49, 271–298.

Kastberger, G., Thenius G., Stabentheiner, A. & Hepburn, R. 2009. Aggressive and docile colony defence patterns in Apis mellifera. A retreater–releaser concept. Journal of Insect Behavior, 22, 65–85.

Monceau, K., Arca, M., Leprêtre, L., Bonnard, O., Arnold, G. & Thiéry D. 2018. How Apis mellifera behaves with its invasive hornet predator Vespa velutina? Journal of Insect Behavior, 31, 1-11.

Monceau, K., Arca, M., Leprêtre, L., Mougel, F., Bonnard, O., Silvain, J.-F., Maher, N., Arnold, G. & Thiéry, D. 2013. Native prey and invasive predator patterns of foraging activity: the case of the yellow-legged hornet predation at European honeybee hives. PLoS ONE, 8, e66492.

Monceau, K., Bonnard, O. & Thiéry, D. 2014. Vespa velutina: a new invasive predator of honeybees in Europe. Journal of Pest Science, 87, 1-16.

Monceau, K., Bonnard, O., Moreau, J. & Thiéry, D. 2014. Spatial distribution of Vespa velutina individuals hunting at domestic honeybee hives: heterogeneity at a local scale. Insect Science, 21, 765–774.

Monceau, K., Maher, N., Bonnard, O. & Thiéry, D. 2013. Predation dynamics study of the recently introduced honeybee killer Vespa velutina: learning from the enemy. Apidologie, 44, 209-221.

Wray, M.K., Mattila, H.R., Seeley, T.D. 2011. Collective personalities in honeybee colonies are linked to colony fitness. Animal Behaviour, 81, 559–568.

Posted 20/2/2019

Assistant Professor, Genomics, Museum of Natural History, Paris

The Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE) invites applications for one tenure-track assistant professor position that will start beginning of October 2019. The position is opened within the BIPEM team (http://isyeb.mnhn.fr/fr/biologie-integrative-des-populations-evolution-moleculaire-388) based at the Museum of National History in Paris (MNHN , France).

The successful candidate will be familiar with genomic data, the linux environment, and at least one programming language. She/he will develop its own research projects within the three main areas the lab is today focused on: i) Origin, dispersion and adaptation of human pathogenic bacteria, ii) Genomic and ecological basis of adaptation and iii) Inferences of demographic parameters and spatial modelling. She/he will benefit from the research environment of the hosting team and laboratory (UMRISYEB, located in the Natural History Museum in Paris), providing computing facilities and wet-lab resources. The MNHN stands in the heart of Paris, the « latin quarter », where a large community of evolutionary biologist is hosted (Sorbonne Université Campus Pierre et Marie Curie, College de France,Ecole Normale Supérieure among others). Moreover, the EPHE belongs to the Paris Science Lettre University (Université PSL) which offers a dynamic environment not only in Paris but also throughout France.

The successful candidate will devote around 20% of her/his time to teaching, by developing new courses on the analysis of "omics" data and by participating to other ongoing courses (population genetics, molecular evolution, history and dispersal of human pathogens among other possibilities).

Qualifications: Applicants must hold a Ph.D. in a relevant field. The successful candidate will demonstrate familiarity with NGS data and programming language(s) and strong potential for establishing supported research program.

Applications: Full details can be found at: https://www.ephe.fr/actualites/recrutement-des-enseignants-chercheurs-2019. Applications will be submitted trough an online platform (https://recrutement-ec.ephe.fr) opening February 11th at 12:00 and closing March 14th at 16:00 Paris time. Any inquiries are welcome and full support will be given to potential candidate to go through the application process.

Claudie Doums

Claudie Doums (claudie.doums@ephe.psl.eu)
Stefano Mona (stefano.mona@mnhn.fr)
Thierry Wirth (wirth@mnhn.fr)

NB. Claudie Doums' research primarily involves social insects, which could form a focus of this position

Posted 20/2/2019

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Insect-Microbe Eco-Physiology, University of Copenhagen

The Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark is offering a Postdoctoral fellowship in insect-microbe eco-physiology, commencing 1 September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. The University of Copenhagen provides a top-notch research environment and the city of Copenhagen provides a vibrant cultural scene.

Scientific environment
The fellowship will be part of a research project financed by an ERC Starting Grant based in the thriving research environment of the Centre for Social Evolution (http://socialevolution.ku.dk/home/) (embedded within the Section of Ecology and Evolution), and will involve fieldwork in the Panamanian tropical rainforests at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (http://www.stri.si.edu/). The successful applicant will have experience and interest in ecology, evolution, physiology, microbial ecology and molecular techniques.

Project Description
Insect-microbe symbioses often involve food exchange among interacting partners, but the nutritional dimensions underlying these transactions are often difficult to study. My lab has developed techniques for studying these dynamics using symbioses involving social insects as models for such inquiry. The project will focus on the remarkable lineage of fungus-farming leafcutter ants that harvest fresh vegetation and convert it into nutritional compost to produce fungal crops as food in underground nests. The postdoc will explore how these ants have managed to grow their domesticated fungi across extreme contemporary rainfall and temperature gradients and across diverse climates over millions of years. Projects will combine ecological field experiments in Panamanian rainforests and integrative laboratory studies of cultivar gene expression to resolve the mechanisms enabling resilient industrial-scale farming by leafcutter ants within diverse tropical insect communities.

Job description
The position is available for a 2-year period and your key tasks as a Postdoctoral Fellow at SCIENCE are:

Formal Qualifications

Terms of employment
The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff. Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 426 625 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 72 952). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Application Procedure
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically at https://candidate.hr-manager.net/ApplicationForm/SinglePageApplicationForm.aspx?cid=1307&departmentId=18965&ProjectId=148763&MediaId=4638

How to apply
Applications must include:

In addition to the fulfilment of the above-mentioned qualifications, the main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant, the match with the project and good interpersonal skills. Additionally, my research group and the University of Copenhagen strive to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The deadline for applications is 15 March 2019, 23:59 GMT +1.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards, an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the previously mentioned skills. You can read more about the recruitment process at http://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/

For specific information about the Postdoctoral Fellowship please refer to the website of Assistant Professor Jonathan Shik (www.jonathanshik.com), or contact him at jonathan.shik@bio.ku.dk, Direct Phone: +45 31152140.

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe's top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation - with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture - creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

Posted 20/2/2019

Postdoc: Honey bee virus – behavior interactions, University of Illinois

The Department of Entomology of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign seeks a Postdoctoral Research Associate as part of a funded project to study the behavioral effects of virus infection and immunostimulation on honey bee behavior and disease transmission.

The goal of this highly interdisciplinary project is to understand how virus infection and immunostimulation affect pathogen transmission due to intra and inter-colony honey bee behavior and to elucidate the molecular regulation of these behaviors. Research approaches will include apiculture, lab- and field-based studies of honey bee behavior, measurements of physiology and immune responses, production and quantification of honey bee viruses, high-throughput RNA- sequencing, and bioinformatic and statistical analyses. Part of this project will also involve executing experiments using an automated behavioral monitoring system that uses machine learning algorithms to track behavior.

The project is run from the Dolezal lab in collaboration with Gene Robinson (UIUC), Colin Brent (USDA-ARS), and Bryony Bonning (U. Florida). A successful candidate will be able to work collaboratively as part of a group across labs and institutions.

Applicants should have completed the PhD before/around spring 2019. Those with previous experience working with honey bees, molecular biology techniques, genomics, behavioral research, and bioinformatic analysis are especially encouraged to apply.

Required Qualifications:

Strong candidates will also possess the following attributes:

The position is available for up to three years, however annual renewal is dependent on funding and progress made by the individual. This position includes a competitive salary and full benefits.

Application:Email a single pdf file with “PD application – bee virus” in the subject line containing 1) a statement of research experience, interests and career goals, 2) curriculum vitae including complete publication list, 3) names, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers for three references to: Adam Dolezal; adolezal@illinois.edu
You can find out more about the lab at https://publish.illinois.edu/DolezalBeeLab

Review of applications will occur on February 22, 2019

Posted 30/1/2019

Graduate Opportunities, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Houston

The Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Houston (UH) welcomes applications for its graduate program in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology for Fall 2018. The following faculty in the areas of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology have opportunities available for their labs:

If you are interested, you should look at the relevant faculty members' web sites and then contact them directly for more information:


For more information regarding the Evolutionary Biology and Ecology graduate program at UH see:


If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact:

Ms. Rosezelia Jackson (biograd@central.uh.edu)

The early deadline for application of prospective students is February 1st, 2019. Evaluation will continue after that date, but students are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

N.B. Both Blaine Cole and Diane Wiernasz work on social insects, and encourage applications from those interested.

Posted 30/12/2018

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

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 Wednesday, February 20, 2019