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International Union for the Study of Social Insects

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Vacancies

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 Tuesday, January 7, 2020


Overview of vacancies on this page:

PhD student: Social Immunity in Ants, IST Austria

Postdoctoral Fellowship: Evolution and Genomics of Attine Ant Fungi, Copenhagen

PhD: Thermal Adaptation in Native Australian Bees, Monash

Postdoc: Global Biodiversity of Ants, Yale

Postdoc: Global Biodiversity of Bees, Yale

Graduate Opportunities in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Houston

2 PhD positions: Social insects and environmental change, Aberdeen

2 PhD studentships: The Ecology of Bees on a Changing Planet, Imperial College London

PhD: Hard-wired for success? Unravelling genomic signatures in pollinators, Plymouth and the Earlham Institute, UK

PhD: Ants as Ecosystem Engineers, York

PhD: Ageing in Social Animals, UEA

PhD: Genomic Signatures in Pollinators, UEA

PhD: Evolutionary epigenetics and genomics of social insects, Georgia

PhD: The 'omics cascade of bumble bee cold tolerance, Alabama

PhD: Self-assembly in weaver ants, Macquarie, Australia

PhD & Research Associates: Social Insect Collective Behaviour, Macquarie & Monash, Australia

The London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership


PhD student: Social Immunity in Ants, IST Austria

Deadline: 8 January 2020

We are loooking for a highly motivated student to join our team working on the social immunity in ant colonies. The PhD thesis will be integrated in an ERC project to elucidate how ant colonies as a whole reach disease defence by the cooperative actions of its members. In particularly, we study the behavioural interaction of the individuals, their chemical communication and hygiene measures, as well as their individual immune responses. 

For more details on our research activities, please see: https://socialimmunity.com 

If you are interested, please send an email with your CV and motivation letter to Sylvia Cremer, IST Austria: sylvia.cremer@ist.ac.at 

Please note that PhD students are accepted to the general IST Austria Graduate school and are affiliated to a research group after a training period (rotations in research groups and coursework). All applications hence need to be formally submitted to the IST Austria Graduate School with a deadline of January 8th, 2020.

 For more information, please see: https://phd.pages.ist.ac.at

Posted 22/12/2019


Postdoctoral Fellowship: Evolution and Genomics of Attine Ant Fungi, Copenhagen

Deadline: 10 January 2020

The Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark is offering a Postdoctoral fellowship in fungal evolution and genomics, commencing 1 September 2020 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 Section of Ecology and Evolution, and will involve some 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 evolution, genomics, bioinformatics, and fungus culturing methods.

Project Description 
The project will explore genomic signatures of crop domestication, focusing on a lineage of fungi that has been cultivated for food by attine ants for millions of years. These fungi have traits that reinforce their value as co-evolved food crops, and they depend on their ant farmers to provide them with nutritional substrates (e.g. fresh vegetation) foraged from the environment. The postdoc will take part in collection trips to Panamanian rainforests, perform integrative in vitro studies of fungus cultivar performance, and use genomics and bioinformatics tools to explore the metabolic pathways governing fungus crop performance.

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 by clicking APPLY NOW below. 

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 10 January 2020, 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/  

Questions 
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.

For further details, and to apply, see: https://employment.ku.dk/all-vacancies/?show=150980

  Posted 22/12/2019


PhD: Thermal Adaptation in Native Australian Bees, Monash

No deadline given

Monash U Australia/Graduate Position/Immediate start

A fully-funded Ph.D. position is available examining thermal adaptation in native Australian bees. Bees are keystone species in many ecosystems due to their role as pollinators. Any changes in the abundance and distribution of bees will have significant knock-on effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Despite their outsized ecological role, we know very little about climatic adaptation in bees, or even which climatic factors drive bee distributions.

In this project, we will use the rich and diverse Australian bee fauna to investigate the capacity of bees to adapt to climate change. Using field-based surveys of a bees thermal tolerances, comparative phylogenetic approaches and field reciprocal transplant experiments the project aims to: determine the role of temperature and rainfall in shaping the distribution of native bee species, predict the capacity of native bees to adapt to climate change and determine the role of environment and genetic variation in shaping population variation.

We are seeking a student who is highly motivated and passionate about evolutionary biology. Preferred candidates will have experience in evolution, ecology and thermal physiology, although experience in these areas is not necessary. There will be opportunities for the successful applicant to pursue their own scientific ideas within the aims of the project. The successful candidates will be supervised by Dr Vanessa Kellermann (Monash University) and Dr Ros Gloag (University of Sydney) and will be based at Monash University's School of Biological Sciences.

The successful applicant will be awarded a scholarship that covers salary (current rate is $27,862 AUD tax-free per year), and a waiver of student fees, international students are welcome to apply.

Interested applicants should submit a CV, a copy of their academic transcript and a cover letter outlining their research interests to vanessa.kellermann@monash.edu and ros.gloag@sydney.edu.au. For links to the PhD application process at Monash University go to vanessakellermann.com.

Posted 22/12/2019


Postdoc: Global Biodiversity of Ants, Yale

Review of applications begins: 9 December 2019

https://bgc.yale.edu/opportunities

A new, 2-3 year postdoc position is available in association with the Yale Center for Biodiversity and Global Change (BGC Center), the GEO BON Species Populations Working Group, Map of Life, and the Jetz Lab. The position is part of a larger, collaborative initiative to advance a conservation-relevant knowledgebase for focal taxa at a global scale, supported through the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and associated sponsors, NASA and others. The postdoc will benefit from working closely with a growing group of Center-based biodiversity scientists, modelers, coordinators, and informaticians and from engaging with a global collaborative network of species group and methods experts worldwide. Support for project-related travel and workshops is available. Target start date for the position is spring through fall 2020.


We are seeking an innovative thinker with a strong quantitative background who is interested in addressing ecological, conservation, biogeographic, or macroevolutionary questions for Ants as a global study system. Qualifications for the position include a PhD in ecology, conservation, macroevolution, bio-/geography, or biological informatics, combined with experience in spatial biodiversity analysis and inference. The preferred candidate will have a deep understanding of this species group, a passion for advancing its spatial knowledge base, a strong interest in the model-based integration of large, disparate biodiversity data, a dedication toward conscientious work in a team, attention to detail, and strong communication skills. Particularly welcome is an ability to traverse ecological, evolutionary, and conservation perspectives and to address processes at different spatial and temporal scales. We expect strong analysis and scientific writing skills. Experience in several scripting languages, database management, taxonomic name management, remote sensing, and/or biodiversity informatics are highly welcome.


The position offers broad thematic flexibility, and focal research questions may be macroecological, conservation-focused, biogeographical, macroevolutionary, or comparative. We ask candidates to briefly describe their preferred thematic interest in the cover letter.
We strongly encourage applications from women and minorities. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values in our group, and we believe that a diverse team will enable a broader perspective and enhance creativity.


The Yale BGC Center connects biodiversity scientists from across campus and hosts a range of speaker and workshop events. It supports research and training around the use of new technologies and data flows for model-based inference and prediction of biodiversity distributions and changes at large spatial and taxonomic scales. Flagship Center projects include Map of Life and activities supporting the Half- Earth Map and the development of the GEO BON Species Population Essential Biodiversity Variables. Other initiatives associated with the Center include the integration of macroevolutionary and biogeographic inference (e.g., VertLife, ButterflyNet), NASA-supported remote sensing-informed layers and tools for biodiversity modelling (EarthEnv), the Max Planck-Yale Center on Biodiversity Movement and Global Change, and the Wildlife Insights initiative for camera trapping data.


Yale University offers researchers and staff competitive salaries and a generous package of benefits. Yale has a thriving and growing community of young scholars in ecology, evolution and global change science in the EEB Department, the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, the Peabody Museum, and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. New Haven is renowned for its classic Ivy League setting, 75 miles northeast of New York City. To apply please send, in one pdf, a short motivation (i.e. cover) letter, CV and names and contact information for three referees to anna.schuerkmann@yale.edu, subject “BGC Postdoc - Ants”. Review of applications will begin on 9 December 2019 and continue until the position is filled.

Posted 11/12/2019


Postdoc: Global Biodiversity of Bees, Yale

Review of applications begins: 9 December 2019

https://bgc.yale.edu/opportunities

A new, 2-3 year postdoc position is available in association with the Yale Center for Biodiversity and Global Change (BGC Center), the GEO BON Species Populations Working Group, Map of Life, and the Jetz Lab. The position is part of a larger, collaborative initiative to advance a conservation-relevant knowledgebase for focal taxa at a global scale, supported through the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and associated sponsors, NASA and others. The postdoc will benefit from working closely with a growing group of Center-based biodiversity scientists, modelers, coordinators, and informaticians and from engaging with a global collaborative network of species group and methods experts worldwide. Support for project-related travel and workshops is available. Target start date for the position is spring through fall 2020.

We are seeking an innovative thinker with a strong quantitative background who is interested in addressing ecological, conservation, biogeographic, or macroevolutionary questions for Bees as a global study system. Qualifications for the position include a PhD in ecology, conservation, macroevolution, bio-/geography, or biological informatics, combined with experience in spatial biodiversity analysis and inference. The preferred candidate will have a deep understanding of this species group, a passion for advancing its spatial knowledge base, a strong interest in the model-based integration of large, disparate biodiversity data, a dedication toward conscientious work in a team, attention to detail, and strong communication skills. Particularly welcome is an ability to traverse ecological, evolutionary, and conservation perspectives and to address processes at different spatial and temporal scales. We expect strong analysis and scientific writing skills. Experience in several s cripting languages, database management, taxonomic name management, remote sensing, and/or biodiversity informatics are highly welcome.

The position offers broad thematic flexibility, and focal research questions may be macroecological, conservation-focused, biogeographical, macroevolutionary, or comparative. We ask candidates to briefly describe their preferred thematic interest in the cover letter.

We strongly encourage applications from women and minorities. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values in our group, and we believe that a diverse team will enable a broader perspective and enhance creativity.

The Yale BGC Center connects biodiversity scientists from across campus and hosts a range of speaker and workshop events. It supports research and training around the use of new technologies and data flows for model-based inference and prediction of biodiversity distributions and changes at large spatial and taxonomic scales. Flagship Center projects include Map of Life and activities supporting the Half-Earth Map and the development of the GEO BON Species Population Essential Biodiversity Variables. Other initiatives associated with the Center include the integration of macroevolutionary and biogeographic inference (e.g., VertLife, ButterflyNet), NASA-supported remote sensing-informed layers and tools for biodiversity modelling (EarthEnv), the Max Planck-Yale Center on Biodiversity Movement and Global Change, and the Wildlife Insights initiative for camera trapping data.

Yale University offers researchers and staff competitive salaries and a generous package of benefits. Yale has a thriving and growing community of young scholars in ecology, evolution and global change science in the EEB Department, the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, the Peabody Museum, and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. New Haven is renowned for its classic Ivy League setting, 75 miles northeast of New York City. To apply please send, in one pdf, a short motivation (i.e. cover) letter, CV and names and contact information for three referees to anna.schuerkmann@yale.edu, subject "BGC Postdoc - Bees". Review of applications will begin on 9 December 2019 and continue until the position is filled.

Posted 11/12/2019


2 PhD positions: Social insects and environmental change, Aberdeen

Deadline: 7 January 2020

Two PhD positions to work on social insects are available in the Lab of Functional Genomics & Sociobiology at the University of Aberdeen, under the supervision of Dr Fabio Manfredini.

The first position deals with the "Origin and maintenance of plasticity in response to thermal stress in invasive and declining ants". This is a 4 year PhD project, part of a competition funded by EASTBIO BBSRC DTP and in collaboration with Dr Lesley Lancaster (University of Aberdeen), Dr Jenni Stockan (The James Hutton Institute) and Dr Nathan Bailey (Univeristy of St Andrews). The deadline for application is Sunday, January 05, 2020.

The second project instead will investigate "The cost of being a fussy eater – Oligolectic pollinators and environmental change". This is a 3.5 years project, part of a competition funded by QUADRAT NERC DTP and in collaboration with Dr Lorraine Scott (Queen's Univeristy Belfast). The deadline for application is Friday, January 24, 2020.

You can find full details about the two projects and how to apply here: https://fmanfredini79.wixsite.com/manfredini/functional-genomics-sociobiology
Or you can contact Dr Fabio Manfredini directly if you have any question: Email fmanfredini79@gmail.com, Twitter @fmanfredini79

Posted 11/12/2019


2 PhD studentships: The Ecology of Bees on a Changing Planet, Imperial College London

Deadlines: 6 & 13 January 2020

1. Context dependence of disease spread and virulence in a pollinator system
Supervisors: Peter Graystock, Sophie Evison & Richard Gill (secured funding)
Deadline 13 January 2020

In host-parasite coevolution, the Red Queen hypothesis states that the contest between host and parasite drives continuous adaptation to counter the ever-evolving opposition. Understanding this dynamic is made more complex when external forces intervene to change the environment, particularly anthropogenic activities and the rates at which they occur. The Melissococcus plutonius bacteria is known to be common in honey bees, often without influencing host health. However, unknown triggers can cause this bacteria to express a harmful and often deadly disease known as European foul brood (EFB). This globally distributed disease causes significant damage to the beekeeping industry, and in the UK, EFB is one of only two microbial bee diseases considered so harmful that positive detection requires immediate notification to the authorities. Yet despite the impact of this disease, we currently have little understanding as to what stressors influence the severity and spread of this disease, and if human practices such as land-use change or pesticide application could be influencing the delicate host-parasite interaction.

The student will explore the mechanism behind transmission of the causal bacteria of the disease (Melissococcus plutonius), before determining if key stressors (Land and pesticide use) influence the severity of the disease. This directly-funded studentship will employ a suite of cutting-edge scientific techniques to address questions on what modulates the transmission and virulence of this disease. The project will add substantially to our understanding of the vulnerability of bees to this significantly destructive disease and the results will facilitate the formation of evidence-led disease management strategies. The student will gain a set of interdisciplinary skills including field work, next generation DNA sequencing and bioinformatics, pesticide residue analysis, microbiology and honeybee keeping. The student will gain training and collaboration from leading scientists including supervisor Dr Peter Graystock (Imperial College London), Dr Richard Gill (Imperial College London), and Dr Sophie Evison (University of Nottingham), plus assistance from the National Bee Unit/Defra.
https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/the-context-dependence-of-disease-spread-and-virulence-in-a-pollinator-system/?p114278

2. ArcticBuzz: studying population dynamics to understand the evolution of plant-pollinator networks under climate change
Supervisors: Richard Gill, Jacob Johansson & Keith Larson (competitively funded)
Deadline 6 January 2020

To date our understanding of how insect pollinator declines are influenced by climate change remains limited. For instance, why have some species shown evidence of latitudinal range shifts in apparent response to climate change when others have not? To address this type of question requires us to understand the eco-evolutionary processes by which insect pollinator populations and their host plants are dynamically responding and how this translates to long term changes in the structure of plant-pollinator networks under climate change. Taking a population biology approach, this project will look to understand how bumblebee populations and host plant visitations have changed over the past 50 years for an Arctic bumblebee community in Lapland, Sweden. This will involve understanding how preceding climatic condition has affected population demography of each of 13 species of bumblebee. The study will reveal changes on population trait frequencies over space and time and how resource competition is determined through adaptations to temperature extremes to predict plant-pollinator network structure and the potential for species invasions. Looking at intra- and interannual population and community turnover of the bumblebees and their host plants we will look to inform predictive models under warming scenarios and identify early warning signs of climate change impacts. Furthermore, this project will reveal the spatio-temporal variation (non-static) in the bumblebee-plant visitation network to reveal how resistant and resilient the mutualistic interaction network is to climate change.

The project takes advantage of a unique phenology transect established over a century ago allowing us to compare past data on bumblebee/plant community composition and phenology with contemporary data spanning the major warming over the last five decades. The transect runs along an altitudinal gradient on Mount Nuolja, Abisko, providing a thermal cline with the study taking a space-for-time substitution approach. The student will become experienced in using a number of interdisciplinary techniques, including a variety of fieldwork skills, bee and plant taxonomic identification, molecular methods in DNA barcoding and population genetics, studying bee thermal profiling, managing and analysing big data, skills in ecological network construction, statistics and developing mathematical models to understand extinction vulnerability. The project will involve a significant amount of fieldwork in the Arctic and will require the candidate to be relatively physically fit. This interdisciplinary project will also benefit from co-supervision & collaboration from a number of world-leading scientists, including: Jacob Johansson (Imperial College and Lund University, Sweden); Keith Larson (Umea University, Sweden); Jason Tylianakis (Canterbury University, NZ), Andrew MacDougal (University of Guelph, Canada); Emily Baird (Stockholm University (Sweden).
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Js8pH_9LCJz6pUCkrz97fpSquk73JmKs/view

Where will the PhDs be based?
The students will based at the Silwood Park campus of Imperial College and hosted by the Gill lab that is well equipped to study bee evolution and ecology. The student will be surrounded by world leading researchers in the disciplines of ecology, evolution and conservation. Facilities include >100 hectares of field site, new controlled environment rooms, microbiology facility, labs tailored for bee research and spacious workspace.

How to apply
Please send your CV, a one page cover letter explaining why you are suitable for the project, and the names and e-mail addresses of two referees to Dr Peter Graystock p.graystock@imperial.ac.uk by 13th January 2020 for honeybee EFB studentship or Dr Richard Gill r.gill@imperial.ac.uk by 6th January 2020 for ArcticBuzz studentship. Informal enquiries for either are welcomed.

Student eligibility
Honeybee EFB studentship has secured funding by the CB Dennis British Beekeepers Research Trust and Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd. Applicants should have, or be about to obtain, a Masters qualification and have a 2.1 or higher undergraduate degree in Biology, Ecology, Evolution, Microbiology or similar. Exceptional students at Bachelors level without a Masters will also be considered. Open to UK and EU citizens or applicants with Settled status in the UK. The project will start in September 2020.

ArcticBuzz studentship is competitively funded by NERC. Applicants should have, or be about to obtain, a Masters qualification and have a 2.1 or higher undergraduate degree in Biology, Ecology, Evolution or similar. To be eligible for a full award they must have either British Citizenship, or Settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay, or been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the studentship - (For non-EU citizens, this must not have been in full time education.). This does not apply to UK nationals.

Posted 11/12/2019


PhD: Hard-wired for success? Unravelling genomic signatures in pollinators, Plymouth and the Earlham Institute, UK

Deadline: 7 January 2020

Key information:
This project has been shortlisted for funding by the ARIES NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, and will involve attendance at mandatory training events throughout the course of the PhD. Successful candidates who meet UKRI's eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship - UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a full award. This studentship will start on 1st October 2020, and the closing date for applications is 12:00 on 7th January 2020. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 18/19 February 2020.

For further information, please contact Mairi Knight: mairi.knight@plymouth.ac.uk

Background:
Many pollinator species, recognised as essential for ecosystem function, are undergoing rapid declines. One recent exception is the 'Tree Bumblebee' Bombus hypnorum: expanding its range into and across the UK in <20 years, it is now one of our most common species.

Building on previous work from the supervisory team, and in collaboration with the Earlham Institute, this project will investigate key genomic differences between this and other bumblebee (Bombus) species to substantially improve our understanding of the factors contributing to its success, along with the declines of others. The project's focus is a genomic comparison of Bombus species from within the UK and continental Europe. Initial work has identified genomic regions of interest in B. hypnorum that may be indicative of its ability to adapt to anthropogenically altered landscapes. However, current data are preliminary and lack essential phylogenetic comparison.

Methodology:
This is a timely and exciting opportunity to generate a highly novel, and substantial, genomic dataset to test hypotheses as to whether the observed genomic differences are unique to B. hypnorum, or shared among Bombus species (some evidence suggests elevated resilience in the wider Pyrobombus sub-genus). In addition to fulfilling the specific aims, the data generated will offer the student significant scope to guide the project's further direction through characterisation of genomic signatures and differences across this important pollinator group.

Training
The project will equip the successful student with state-of-the-art genomic techniques as well as bioinformatic and modelling skills that are highly transferable and increasingly essential across a wide range of academic and applied biological disciplines. The student will also gain important soft skills (e.g. communication, team working, problem solving). He/she will be based in Plymouth, spending short periods at the other Institutions as relevant.

Person Specification
The successful candidate will have a biology-based degree, an academic interest in evolutionary ecology, and be enthusiastic about pursuing a laboratory- and computer-based project. Ideally, he/she will have some basic molecular ecology experience (e.g. DNA extraction, PCR) and interest in genetic and evolutionary analysis. Experience of genome sequencing and bioinformatics is not essential as full training will be provided.

Dr Mairi Knight
mairi.knight@plymouth.ac.uk
School of Biological and Marine Sciences
University of Plymouth
Plymouth
PL4 8AA
UK

Posted 11/12/2019


PhD: Ants as Ecosystem Engineers, York

Deadline: 8 January 2020

PhD: Ants as ecosystem engineers: the interaction between niche construction and land management, University of York, UK

We are looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious student to develop a novel project that will use applied 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 academics and stakeholders from a range of backgrounds and want to apply their scientific training to an important applied question.

Ants act as effective geoengineers, increasing habitat heterogeneity and constructing niches. Yellow meadow ants, Lasius flavus, were historically common on pastures. These ants promote biodiversity, for example they
increase floral species richness because the ant mound soil differs from surrounding areas. Many modern farming practices reduce or eliminate their populations.

Belton House, a National Trust property including 650 hectares of historic (Grade 1 Registered) wood pasture parkland, which is a UK priority habitat, has areas hosting an unusually high density of meadow ants, but also other areas where they are entirely absent. Previous management of the site has resulted in some areas suffering from over-grazing and soil compaction. The study site is undergoing a period of management change, to a more biodiversity-friendly approach of mixed and lighter grazing. Despite the known importance of ants within the soil ecosystems, very little is known about how the ecosystem impacts of meadow ants are mediated, and how these impacts interact with past and present pasture management practices. The collaboration with CASE partner The National Trust provides the opportunity to carry out controlled experiments, altering management to assess impact on ant populations, and altering ant populations to assess impact on ecosystem composition and function.

This project will be supervised by Elva Robinson (ant behavioural ecologist, University of York), Kelly Redeker (soil biogeochemist, University of York) and Carl Hawke (Nature Conservation Advisor, The National Trust). This is a NERC ACCE DTP studentship. Eligibility: UK/EU applicants only.

Closing date for applications: 8 January 2020

More information:
https://www.york.ac.uk/biology/postgraduate/research/funding/funded-studentships/  
https://www.york.ac.uk/biology/postgraduate/nercdtp  
Contact: elva.robinson@york.ac.uk

Posted 11/12/2019


Graduate Opportunities in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Houston

First deadline: 1 February 2020

The Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Houston (UH) welcomes applications for its graduate program in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology for Fall 2020.  The following faculty in the areas of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology have opportunities available for their labs:

Alex Stewart (astewar6@central.uh.edu): Mathematical biology
Blaine Cole (bcole@uh.edu): Evolution and social behavior
Dan Graur (dgraur@uh.edu): Molecular evolutionary bioinformatics
Diane Wiernasz (dwiernasz@uh.edu): Sexual selection
Erin Kelleher (eskelleher@uh.edu): Evolutionary genetics and genomics
Kerri Crawford (kmcrawford3@uh.edu): Community ecology
Rebecca Zufall (rzufall@uh.edu): Evolutionary genetics
Ricardo Azevedo (razevedo@uh.edu): Evolutionary genetics
Rich Meisel (rpmeisel@uh.edu): Evolutionary genetics and genomics
Steve Pennings (spennings@uh.edu): Community ecology
Tony Frankino (frankino@uh.edu): Evolution of complex traits

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

http://www.uh.edu/nsm/biology-biochemistry/people/faculty/faculty-alpha/

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

http://www.bchs.uh.edu/graduate/prospective-students/
http://www.uh.edu/graduate-school/prospective-students/how-to-apply/

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, 2020.  Evaluation will continue after that date, but students are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

Posted 11/12/2019


PhD: Ageing in Social Animals, UEA

Deadline: 7 January 2020

PHD STUDENTSHIP OPPORTUNITY: The ageing bee: how does sociality affect ageing in social animals?

PhD to study sociality and ageing in bumble bees at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

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

Closing date for applications: Tuesday 7 January 2020

A PhD studentship to start in October 2020 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 (BOURKEUBIO20ARIES) and instructions on how to apply, see: https://www.aries-dtp.ac.uk/studentships/bourke/

Posted 13/11/2019


PhD: Genomic Signatures in Pollinators, UEA

Deadline: 7 January 2020

PHD STUDENTSHIP OPPORTUNITY: HARD-WIRED FOR SUCCESS? UNRAVELLING GENOMIC SIGNATURES IN POLLINATORS

PhD to study the genomics of ecological success in bumble bees at the University of Plymouth, UK

Supervisors: Mairi Knight (mairi.knight@plymouth.ac.uk), Jonathan Ellis, Vanessa Huml (all University of Plymouth), Andrew Bourke (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK), Wilfried Haerty (Earlham Institute, Norwich, UK)

Closing date for applications: Tuesday 7 January 2020

A PhD studentship to start in October 2020 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 in other species. Applicants will be competitively selected for funding of the studentship by the ARIES NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/your-studies/research-degrees/doctoral-training-partnerships/aries-dtp-opportunities-october-2020).

For further details of the project and instructions on how to apply, see: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/your-studies/research-degrees/doctoral-training-partnerships/hard-wired-for-success-unravelling-genomic-signatures-in-pollinators

Posted 13/11/2019


PhD: Evolutionary epigenetics and genomics of social insects, Georgia

No deadline given.

PhD Position: NSF-supported graduate studies in evolutionary epigenetics and genomics of social insects at the University of Georgia.

The Hunt Lab at UGA is broadly interested in how evolution produces variation in insect form and function. We use social insects, such as ants, bees, and wasps as models for studying how evolutionary and gene regulatory mechanisms shape variation in social behavior. We have taken a particular interest in investigating genetic and epigenetic factors that underlie differences in complex traits.

In collaboration with Ken Ross at UGA, we study how a supergene and phenotypic plasticity influence variation in colony queen number and social behaviors in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta. In collaboration with Sarah Kocher at Princeton University, we study how gene regulatory evolution shapes social behaviors. We are always interested in identifying new systems and approaches for study.

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. Diverse areas of expertise and coursework availability at UGA, along with a first-rate genomics core facility, 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 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 13/11/2019


PhD: The 'omics cascade of bumble bee cold tolerance, Alabama

No deadline given.

Funding for PhD students is available at The University of Alabama as part of a recently awarded NSF Rules of Life project: "Bumble bee cold tolerance across elevations - From epigenotype to phenotype across space, time, and levels of biological organization". PhD students will be involved in studying the links between genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic variation in relation to local thermal tolerance adaptation in montane bumble bees (lozierlab.ua.edu). The project will involve extensive high throughput sequencing of bees from wild populations and experimental colonies and the use of approaches like network theory to model and draw inferences from these complex data. Students will develop questions relating to ecological, evolutionary, or conservation genomics within the broader project objectives. The focus of the positions is flexible, and we expect there will be a great deal of collaboration and overlap among students, postdocs, and PIs on the project.

I am looking to recruit highly motivated students with interests in applying modern molecular and computational tools to address ecological and evolutionary questions in a non-model organism. Applicants should have a strong academic record (GPA > 3.0), an ability for clear verbal and written communication, and a desire to learn new skills! Students funded off the grant will participate in both laboratory molecular work (primarily generation of RNAseq and genome/epigenome sequencing libraries) and computational analyses, and applicants should thus have some degree of experience or interest in both aspects of the project.

The project will involve collaborations with Janna Fierst at UA, Michael Dillon and Franco Basile at the University of Wyoming, and James Strange at Ohio State. As part of these collaborations there may be opportunities for field work or experimental work with bumble bees, depending on student interests and expertise.

Contact Jeff Lozier (jlozier@ua.edu) for more information. Anticipated start date will be Fall 2020, but we're flexible.

Useful Links:
Lozier Lab: lozierlab.ua.edu
U Alabama Biological Sciences: bsc.ua.edu

Posted 13/11/2019


PhD: Self-assembly in weaver ants, Macquarie, Australia

No deadline given.

Are you interested in pursuing an exciting PhD project on a unique ant species, at a supportive, world-class institution in a beautiful part of the world?

I am looking for a highly motivated PhD student to participate in our project "Ant-inspired rules for self-assembly in swarm robotics and complex systems" at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. This is a fixed term-position for three years (at standard PhD stipend rate - $27,000 per year), funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC). Highly competitive international students have the chance to apply for an additional tuition fee waiver from Macquarie University.

Project description:
This Project aims to investigate self-assembly in weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) – where individual workers join their bodies together using simple rules at the individual-level to build complex structures at the group-level. Using a state-of-the-art computer-vision tracking system, you will uncover the rules used by individual ants that lead to a range of functional self-assembled structures, by inducing colonies to form bridges, hanging chains and pulling chains in the laboratory and performing detailed behavioural analyses on the individual workers. The candidate will work with an international network of collaborators, including world experts in computer science, who will assist in building a modelling framework of analytical and simulation-based computer models derived from the ant behavioural rules. The models will be directly translated into novel swarm robotics control algorithms, which will be used to achieve two outcomes: i) testing whether the derived behavioural rules lead to successful self-assembly of the desired structure in a physical robot swarm, and; ii) upgrading robot swarms with ant-like capabilities of self-assembling into a variety of functional structures as needed, using a minimum of local information and no prior planning. The candidate will have the opportunity to test their findings on a brand new robot swarm purchased under this grant, and collaborate with world leaders in robotics.

Requirements:
Successful candidates will have a Masters degree or equivalent in biology or a related field (high-performing Honours graduates are also encouraged to apply), good knowledge/experience in invertebrate behaviour, and an interest in biological complex systems. Candidates with strong interest in robotics, agent-based modelling and/or programming are highly desirable, though this is not essential. The ideal candidate will have very good oral and written communication skills in English.

The position is currently open, so please contact Dr. Chris Reid as soon as possible, email: chris.reid@mq.edu.au. Applications should be a single PDF including a cover letter describing the motivation, previous research activities and current research interests, a CV with copies of BSc and MSc certificates, details of at least 2 referees and a list of publications if applicable.

Dr Chris R. Reid
ARC DECRA Research Fellow, Department of Biological Sciences
Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
e-mail: chrisreidresearch@gmail.com or chris.reid@mq.edu.au
website: https://chrisrreid.wordpress.com
phone: +61 2 9850 6270

Posted 18/10/2019


PhD & Research Associates: Social Insect Collective Behaviour, Macquarie & Monash, Australia

No deadline given.

Positions for research associates and PhD candidates are in an exciting project that studies collective behaviour in social insects.

You will work within a cutting-edge multidisciplinary collaboration of experimental biologists and mathematical computational modellers at Macquarie and Monash Universities, and international partners in a project funded by the Australian Research Council (see https://tinyurl.com/yxuagwol).

We are seeking applications for: 

If you are interested in working at the intersection of ecology, behaviour, and complex systems science, in a project that meshes experimental biology and computation science we encourage you to contact us for further discussion.

Prof. Bernd Meyer: bernd.meyer@monash.edu
Dr Chris Reid: chris.reid@mq.edu.au

Posted 18/10/2019


The London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership

Deadlines: January 2020

The London NERC DTP programme is a route for interested students to apply to with the possibility of working with any of the social insect researchers at Royal Holloway (Mark Brown, Elli Leadbeater), UCL (Seirian Sumner), and Queen Mary (Yannick Wurm, Lars Chittka). The website link is below. Applications are now open for the September 2020 start, and will close in January 2020.

For more information, see https://london-nerc-dtp.org

NB. Currently the following social insect related projects are listed:

Eggleton, PaulNHMFunctional diversity of termites across the tropics: linking pattern and process
Henry, LeeQMULUnraveling the biology of symbiotic mutualisms in ants
Hurd, PaulQMULThe Honey Bee: An Emerging Model Organism for Epigenetics.
Koricheva, JuliaRHULForest diversity effects on wood ants
Vogler, AlfriedNHMThe meconium as a unique source of eDNA for determining the diet of social wasps

Posted 18/10/2019, Updated 22/12/2019


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.

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Last modified Tuesday, January 7, 2020