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International Union for the Study of Social Insects

who's where vacancies INSECTSmail


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 Friday, December 4, 2020

Overview of vacancies on this page:
Postdoc: Kin recognition mechanisms in Hymenoptera, Paris

PhD: Bee Nutritiona Ecology and Genomics, Hull & Leeds

2 PhDs: Viruses and the honeybee brain & invasive insects, Aberdeen

PhD: Effect of stress on floral odour preferences of bumblebees, Durham, UK

PhD: Genomic Signatures in Pollinators, Plymouth

PhD: Bumblebee Aging, University of East Anglia (UEA)

Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Associates:Honey bee biology, social physiology, collective behavior: Auburn University

PhD: Ants as ecosystem engineers: using ants to promote biodiversity, University of York, UK

Postdoctoral Research Scholar: Scaling of Brain and Individual Metabolism and Morphology in Ants, Arizona State University

Two PhDs: Driving individual and collective behaviour in invasive ants, Regensburg

Postdoc: Kin recognition mechanisms in Hymenoptera, Paris

Patrizia d'Ettorre writes:

There will be a postdoc position available for 2 years in my research group (Sorbonne Paris Nord/Paris 13) to deeply explore kin recognition mechanisms in Hymenoptera (funded by the French National Research Agency, coordinated by Jean-Christophe Sandoz, Paris Saclay).

Highly motivated, bright and curious young researchers holding a PhD in Evolutionary Biology/Animal Behavior/Chemical Ecology/Cognition/Neuroscience are welcome to contact Patrizia: dettorre@leec.univ-paris13.fr

Posted 5/11/2020

PhD: Bee Nutritional Ecology and Genomics, Hull & Leeds

Deadline: 5 January 2021

A fully funded PhD position is now open for applications at the Universities of Hull and Leeds, UK, via NERC's Panorama Doctoral Tranining Partnership programme.

Bees, our foremost pollinators, are vital for ecosystem stability and global food security - providing pollination services worth hundreds of billions of pounds annually. The UK is home to ~245 species of wild bees which collectively perform more pollination than managed honeybees and bumblebees. Unfortunately, wild bee populations are declining, under pressure from multiple causes - one key factor being nutrition.

All bees feed offspring with pollen gathered from the landscape. But human influences such as agricultural intensification are altering nutritional landscapes for bees [3,4], and fundamentally affecting gene expression, growth and reproduction. Most of what we know about bee nutrition comes from studies in social bees like honeybees or bumblebees [5,6], where nutrition influences caste determination, development, pathogen resistance and others. However, the nutritional ecology of other bees, particularly solitary bees, is largely unstudied.

Human activity is also changing climates and raising average temperatures. Temperature affects animals' metabolic rate, physiology, digestion, and nutrient assimilation, as well as gene expression. Dr Gilbert's recent work [7] has identified the need to store enough carbohydrate and fat to survive the winter as potentially critical for solitary bees' nutritional ecology. But we know little about how this is regulated, how climate change will affect bees, and how bees will deal with changing nutritional landscapes in a future filled with uncertainty.

We are now, for the first time, in a position to understand not just whether but also how different nutritional landscapes and climates affect bees. This exciting cross-institutional project combines field ecology with cutting edge molecular approaches to address a crucial knowledge gap about how bees are being affected by human-altered nutritional landscapes. This project addresses issues relevant for pure ecological science, conservation biology, agriculture and crop science.

At Hull, Dr Gilbert's lab has pioneered rearing protocols for the economically and ecologically important solitary bee, Osmia bicornis. This work is providing an unprecedented window onto bee nutritional ecology. At Leeds, Dr Duncan's lab uses a variety of cutting-edge molecular tools to understand how bees are influenced by their environment. Dr Duncan has conducted groundbreaking work on how nutrition affects gene expression in developing bees, as well as recent work on the environmental and molecular control of reproduction in O. bicornis. The student will capitalise on this timely opportunity to synthesize the research interests of these two research groups and create collaborative links between institutions. The candidate will be integrated into both lab groups and will benefit from the infrastructure and connections at both universities.

Using careful manipulations within controlled laboratory environments, the student will first establish how dietary macronutrients affect the fitness of solitary bee larvae in response to changes in rearing temperature. Then, they will use high-throughput sequencing technology to examine genome-wide expression profiles of larvae receiving different diet and temperature treatments, to understand the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying bees' responses to landscape and climate change. Nutritional cues are known to alter gene expression [8], but to date studies have focussed largely on a few genes, and only in honeybees. The student will compare larvae receiving different treatments in (1) choices larvae make about which nutrients to consume, (2) correlates of fitness such as body size and overwinter survival, and (3) expression of growth- versus diapause-related genes.

Outcomes: The findings will, firstly, shed light on the optimal nutrition for bees - both currently, and in a warmer future. They will help inform active measures such as wildflower strips to conserve and promote these vital pollinators as the climate changes. Secondly, results will also show the physiological effects of different nutritional landscapes upon bees, now and in the future, allowing us a detailed understanding of the resilience of solitary bees to landscape change in a changing climate. Finally, the results will provide comparisons and contrasts with existing knowledge of social bee gene expression, physiology and nutrigenomics, providing unparalleled insights into bee
nutritional ecology.

1. Coley P, et al. Oecologia. 2002;133: 62-69.
2. Rothman JM, et al. Ecology. 2015;96: 873-878.
3. Naug D. Biol Conserv. 2009;142: 2369-2372.
4. Donkersley P, et al. Ecol Evol. 2014;4: 4195-4206.
5. Paoli PP, et al. Amino Acids. 2014;46: 1449-1458.
6. Helm BR, et al. Biol Open. 2017;6: 872-880.
7. Austin AJ, Gilbert JDJ. bioRxiv. 2018;https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/397802v1.abstract
8. Di Pasquale G, et al. PLoS One. 2013;8: e72016.

For details please contact Dr James Gilbert (james.gilbert@hull.ac.uk).
To apply, and for more details: https://panorama-dtp.ac.uk/research/nutrigenomics-and-the-resilience-of-bees-in-a-changing-climate/
Deadline: 5 Jan 2021 Eligibility: UK, EU and International, but with funding stipulations here: https://panorama-dtp.ac.uk/how-to-apply/
Funding: UK (NERC, Competition-funded)

Posted 5/11/2020

2 PhDs: Viruses and the honeybee brain & invasive insects, Aberdeen

Deadline: 6 January 2021 & 18 January 2021

Two PhD positions have been recently advertised in Dr Manfredini research group at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. These are part of two competitive Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) platforms. Applications will be reviewed early in January soon after the deadline for submission - see details below. Both DTPs are open to International applicants. Interested candidates are encouraged to contact Dr Manfredini (fabio.manfredini@abdn.ac.uk) before they submit an application – here is the link to the group website https://www.abdn.ac.uk/people/fabio.manfredini/#panel_research

1) The first project is on the "The interplay between genes and viruses in the honey bee brain and its effects on foraging behaviour". This is a 4 year PhD project, part of a competition funded by EASTBIO BBSRC DTP and in collaboration with Dr Alan Bowman (University of Aberdeen) and Dr Mark Barnett (University of Edinburgh, Roslin Institute). Prospective candidates can find full details about the project, including criteria and eligibility, on FindAPHD and on the EASTBIO website. Deadline to apply to this program is Wednesday, January 06, 2021.

FindAPHD advert: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/eastbio-the-interplay-between-genes-and-viruses-in-the-honey-bee-brain-and-its-effects-on-foraging-behaviour/?p125639

EASTBIO website: http://www.eastscotbiodtp.ac.uk/how-apply-0

2) The title of the second project is "Predicting the ecological impacts of invasive alien insects at multiple levels: from genes to communities". This is a 3.5 years project, part of a competition funded by QUADRAT NERC DTP and in collaboration with Prof Jaimie Dick (Queen's University Belfast), Dr Greta Bocedi (University of Aberdeen), Prof Helen Roy (UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) and Dr Lori Lawson Handley (University of Hull). Prospective candidates can find full details about the project, including criteria and eligibility, on FindAPHD or on the QUADRAT website. Deadline to apply to this program is Monday, 18th January, 2021.

FindAPHD advert: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/quadrat-dtp-predicting-the-ecological-impacts-of-invasive-alien-insects-at-multiple-levels-from-genes-to-communities/?p125540

QUADRAT website: https://www.quadrat.ac.uk/projects/predicting-the-ecological-impacts-of-invasive-alien-insects-at-multiple-levels-from-genes-to-communities/

Posted 4/12/2020

PhD: Effect of stress on floral odour preferences of bumblebees, Durham, UK

Deadline: 8 January 2021 (but early application is advised)

Fully funded PhD position in Durham, UK - How does stress affect floral smell preferences of bumblebees?

A funded PhD position is available for UK/EU citizens in the lab of Lena Riabinina (Durham, UK), in collaboration with Matt Tinsley (Stirling, UK), Wayne Dawson (Durham, UK) and Thomas Schmitt (Wuerzburg, Germany). The project will explore how bumblebees of different species use olfactory cues during foraging, and how this behaviour is affected by stress. The project will involve field collections of bumblebees and plants, behavioural assays and GC/MS analysis, in the UK and in Germany.

More details about the project are available here: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/how-does-stress-affect-floral-smell-preferences-of-bumblebees/?p125521

Information about the PhD programme, eligibility and finding is here: https://www.iapetus2.ac.uk/how-to-apply/

Applications are accepted until the 8th of January 2021, but early applications and enquiries (to olena.riabinina@durham.ac.uk) are advised.

Posted 5/11/2020

PhD: Genomic Signatures in Pollinators, Plymouth

Deadline: 12 January 2021

PHD STUDENTSHIP OPPORTUNITY: Hard-wired for Success? Unravelling Genomic Signatures in Pollinators

PhD to investigate the genomics of pollinating bumble bees at the University of Plymouth, UK

Supervisors: Mairi Knight (University of Plymouth; mairi.knight@plymouth.ac.uk), Andrew Bourke (University of East Anglia), Wilfried Haerty (The Earlham Institute) and Jonathan Ellis (University of Plymouth)

Closing date for applications: Tuesday 12 January 2021

A PhD studentship to start in October 2021 is now open for applications. The project will investigate key genomic differences between the Tree Bumble Bee Bombus hypnorum and other bumble bee species to substantially improve our understanding of the factors contributing to the ecological success of B. hypnorum, along with the declines of other bumble bee species. 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 (KNIGHT_P21ARIES) and instructions on how to apply, see:

Posted 4/12/2020

PhD: Bumblebee Aging, University of East Anglia (UEA)

Deadline: 12 January 2021


PhD to explore the intersection of social evolution and the evolution of ageing using bumble bees at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Supervisors: Andrew Bourke (a.bourke@uea.ac.uk), Alexei Maklakov, Tracey Chapman (all UEA)

Closing date for applications: Tuesday 12 January 2021

A PhD studentship to start in October 2021 is now open for applications. 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 (BOURKE_UBIO21ARIES) and instructions on how to apply, see: https://www.aries-dtp.ac.uk/studentships/bourke/

Posted 5/11/2020

Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Associates:Honey bee biology, social physiology, collective behavior: Auburn University

Review of applications will begin 1 November 2020

Start Date: Spring/Summer 2021 (flexible)

The Smith Bee Lab conducts research on the basic biology of honey bee colonies in a natural history context. We are interested in how colonies develop, how they are organized, and how they detect and respond to biotic and abiotic changes.

Here are some examples of broad questions we are addressing in the lab:
- How do behavioral repertoires change over an individual’s life?
- How do individuals gather information about the state of their colony?
- How does colony organization change in the face of environmental variation?

Members of the Smith Bee Lab are encouraged to develop their own research program within the broad framework of social physiology and understanding how honey bee colonies function. Prior experience working with honey bees is not required – we are actively seeking researchers with complementary skills to join our group, as long as they have a strong interest in the underlying biological concepts. Projects looking to develop methods, analytical tools, or make use of our dataset containing lifetime trajectories of over 15000 individuals are of particular interest.

Graduate students: Auburn supports a large community in our Department of Biological Sciences (DBS). Students can apply at the M.Sc. and Ph.D. level. Applicants should have a strong biology and/or analytical background in any field. Experience working with honey bees is not required. Application materials include a CV, personal statement, official transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. Auburn does not require the GRE.

Prospective graduate students will be interviewed in January 2021, with formal applications due to DBS in February, and a start date of August 2021. Please note that all students must have a faculty sponsor before submitting your official application, so if you are interested in joining the lab, please contact me via email as soon as possible.

Ph.D. students from the United States are strongly encouraged to apply for the NSFGRFP. I will gladly work with potential graduate students who would like to apply the year before starting graduate school (GRFP due October 19, 2020).

Postdocs: candidates should have a PhD in any of the following: biology, computer science, data science, engineering, physics, statistics, or a related field. Review of applications will begin 1 Nov 2020, and continue until a suitable applicant is found. Flexible start dates, given the current global situation. Funding available for 3 years.

To apply, please send me (msmith@ab.mpg.de) a single PDF containing: cover letter, CV, and contact information for three references. To avoid spam filters, please use this for the subject of your email: [Your name], [position applying for], "application to Smith Bee Lab" (e.g. D. R. Jones, postdoctoral associate, application to Smith Bee Lab).

Auburn University is an R1 research institution, located in a fantastic, affordable college town, with 4+ state parks and nature reserves within 30 minutes of downtown Auburn. Our nearest airport is Atlanta, a 1hr 15min drive, with shuttle service available. The Department of Biological Sciences is a friendly, vibrant, and collaborative setting for research. Members of the Smith Bee Lab are encouraged to develop collaborations across the university, and within the department's four core areas: 1) Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation, 2) Evolutionary Genetics and Systematics, 3) Physiological Adaptation and Functional Genomics, and 4) Host-Microbial Interactions.

Auburn University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Posted 21/10/2020

PhD: Ants as ecosystem engineers: using ants to promote biodiversity, University of York, UK

Deadline: 15 January 2021

Supervisors: Dr Elva Robinson, University of York, Dr Kelly Redeker, University of York, Carl Hawke, The National Trust.
Application Deadline: Friday, January 15, 2021

We are looking for an enthusiastic student to develop a PhD project using field experiments to quantify the relationship between meadow ants and management regimes, and how these together affect biodiversity and soil function. The ideal candidate will enjoy interacting with both academics and stakeholders and will want to apply their scientific training to an important applied question.
More information about the project available at: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/ants-as-ecosystem-engineers-using-ants-to-promote-biodiversity/?p124660

Funding Notes:
This project is part of the ACCE NERC Doctoral Training Programme in Ecology and Evolution. Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 3.5 years. The funding includes:
Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£15,285 for 2020/21)
UK tuition fees (£4,473 for 2021/22)
Research support and training charges (RSTC)

International candidates (including EU) will be considered however they will need to have adequate funds to meet the difference in tuition fees. International tuition fees for 2021 entry are £22,250.

Posted 21/10/2020

Postdoctoral Research Scholar: Scaling of Brain and Individual Metabolism and Morphology in Ants, Arizona State University

Review of applications will begin October 15, 2020

Salary $55,596

Position Description
The School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University invites applications for a full-time, fiscal-year appointment as a Postdoctoral Research Scholar. We are seeking a postdoctoral fellow to participate in a research project aimed understanding the influences of social life and body size on the evolution of ant brains. The postdoc will lead ASU projects within the context of a collaborative grant between ASU, Boston University and Providence College to study brain metabolism and neuroanatomy to analyze encephalization and its relationship to sociality by comparing scaling relationships between colony size, worker body size, brain size and structure, and metabolism. The postdoc will measure the metabolic rates of individual workers and dissected brains in a comparative study of southwestern seed-harvester ants, and may also use immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy to image intact brains and quantify brain size and structure. The position can start as soon as November 2020, though the start-date is negotiable.

Essential duties

  1. Conduct field collecting trips across the US southwest; the postdoc must be able to drive and to be able to learn to identify southwestern seed harvester ant species.
  2. Set up and run a high-throughput system for measuring individual worker metabolic rates while controlling for locomotory behavior.
  3. Dissect ant brains and measure their metabolic rates with an Agilent Seahorse system.
  4. Fix and prepare brains for immunohistochemistry.
  5. Statistical analysis of scaling data in a phylogenetic context.
  6. Write scientific papers associated with the research.
  7. Travel to meetings to present results.
  8. Be an active member in research group activities (e.g., participate in lab meetings, mentor students).

Minimum qualifications

Desired qualifications

Department information
The School of Life Sciences (SOLS) has provided a vital hub for creative excellence at Arizona State University, with more than 670 faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff, and research that ranges from studies on biodiesel and biohydrogen to vaccine development and the conservation of whales. As ASU’s first academic unit to fully reflect President Michael Crow’s integrated, interdisciplinary vision for the New American University, the School of Life Sciences offers active and evolving platforms for collaborative, cutting-edge research and faculty whose discovery is freed from traditional institutional boundaries.
Arizona State University is a dynamic, progressive university dedicated to interdisciplinary collaborations, to rethinking university education, and to integrating excellence in research and teaching. The university has been ranked #1 for innovation by the US News & World Report for the past five years. ASU’s School of Life Sciences is committed to curricular innovation in traditional and digital learning environments.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (https://thecollege.asu.edu/faculty) at ASU values cultural and intellectual diversity, and continually strives to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment. We are especially interested in applicants who can strengthen the College diversity of the academic community.

Application Instructions
To apply, please submit electronically to http://apply.interfolio.com/78520 following materials:

Review of applications will begin October 15, 2020 and will continue to review bi-weekly until the position is closed. A background check is required for employment.

Arizona State University is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. https://www.asu.edu/aad/manuals/acd/acd401.html. https://www.asu.edu/titleIX.

In compliance with federal law, ASU prepares an annual report on campus security and fire safety programs and resources. ASU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is available online at https://www.asu.edu/police/PDFs/ASU-Clery-Report.pdf. You may request a hard copy of the report by contacting the ASU Police Department at 480-965-3456.

Posted 7/10/2020

Two PhDs: Driving individual and collective behaviour in invasive ants, Regensburg

Deadline 15 January 2021

two 42-month-funded PhD positions: Driving individual and collective behaviour in invasive ants

The two PhD positions will form the backbone of our new ERC-funded project: Cognitive Control.

The aim of COGNITIVE CONTROL is to gain fundamental insights into collective cognition and apply them to the emerging global challenge of invasive animal control. Invasive ants are ecologically devastating, economically damaging, and almost impossible to control. Ants are protected physically and by social immunity. However, their cognitive abilities are almost universally ignored, and offer novel angles of attack.

Individual choice of Argentine ants will be steered using behavioural economic and cognitive interventions. Psychological effects, such as conditioned taste aversion, which may cripple current alien species management, will be tested and overcome. Finally, we will use neuroactives (e.g. caffeine) to improve learning and manipulate preference. Then, we will take the successful individual-level manipulations on to the colony level to gain deep insights into collective cognition. By tracing trophallactic networks we will broaden our understanding of social immunity, which may protect ant colonies from attack, and learn to disrupt it.
The Ph. D. researchers will be responsible for carrying out the experiments outlined in the proposal, analysing the data, and writing up the findings for publication. In addition, there will be extensive opportunities to develop their own research agenda, design their own experiments, and supervise MSc and BSc students. They will receive very close supervision and support in all aspects of their academic work.

In addition to a rewarding academic experience, the successful candidates will get to live in one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe, with a large and thriving student community, all set within the beautiful Bavarian countryside. Regensburg is a wonderful city to live in, and the University of Regensburg is a wonderful institution to work in.

Requirements and details

The positions are set to start on or around April 1st 2021, although some flexibility can be arranged for the ideal candidate.

Candidates require
- an MSc in Biology, Zoology, Comparative Psychology, or a related field
- excellent written and spoken English
- Experience in carrying out behavioural  experiments
- a genuine love of behaviour and biology
- The right to work in the EU
Also advantageous is
- Experience in working with (social) insects
- Some statistical analysis skills
- Some programming or automated data collection skills (e.g. Python)
- Strong references from previous supervisors
For more information, or to apply, contact
Dr Tomer Czaczkes (tomer.czaczkes[a]ur.de).
Applicants should send: their C.V., a personal statement of motivation, and the contact details of at least one previous supervisor willing to provide a letter of reference. The application deadline for this position is the 15th January 2021.

Posted 9/10/2020

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 Friday, December 4, 2020