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IUSSI North-west European section

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 2, 2017

Overview of vacancies on this page:

2 PhD Scholarships in Pollination Ecology, University of Sydney

Graduate position: Symbiotic interactions in ant systems, Ohio State

PhD & MSc: Honey Bee Foraging Ecology and Pollinator Health, Virginia Tech

PhD: Geoengineering impact of wood ants, York

PhD studentship: Social Behaviour of Bees, University of East Anglia

2 Post-docs: The genomic and neural basis of facial recognition in paper wasps, Cornell

Staff Research Scientist: Animal Behavior, STRI, Panama

2 PhD Scholarships in Pollination Ecology, University of Sydney

Jointly offered by The Insect Behaviour and Ecology Lab (http://www.tanyalatty.com/) and The Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Lab (http://sydney.edu.au/science/biology/socialinsects/)

Two scholarships on offer, for 2018 start dates:

1. Pollination ecology of invasive bees in tropical Queensland

2. Pollination ecology and behaviour of honey bees

We can assist both domestic and international applicants with the application process

See USyd's Research Scholarship site for details and contacts:

Closing date for applications: 15 November 2017

Posted 2/11/2017

Graduate position: Symbiotic interactions in ant systems, Ohio State

Master's or PhD Position, The Adams Lab, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

I am currently looking for an exceptional graduate student with interests in symbiotic interactions in ant systems. Preferred applicants will have experience in evolutionary biology, chemical ecology, microbiology and/or behavioral ecology. Although I encourage independence and personal ownership in research direction, I am seeking a student that shares my interest in ant semiochemical evolution and function in the fungus-growing ants and their Megalomyrmex social parasites (e.g. alarm compounds, venom alkaloids and cuticular hydrocarbons).

Students in my lab are supported through a combination of internal and external fellowships, personal grants and my research funding. They are expected to actively seek funding and the scope of their research may be influenced by their success.

All students who are accepted into the EEOB Graduate Program receive support for 3 (M.S.) or > 5 (Ph.D.) years by becoming a teaching assistant. More details on the EEOB Graduate Program can be obtained at our departmental website (https://eeob.osu.edu/grad/graduate-program). Corey Ash is our graduate student coordinator and can answer questions about graduate admissions. The EEOB application materials are due December 1st for programs to begin the following Autumn. By the time of admission, applicants must have earned a B.Sc. or B.A. from an accredited institution with a major in one of the life sciences. Course work in calculus, organic chemistry or biochemistry is required; statistics and physics are strongly recommended.

If you are interested in joining my research group, please send a single pdf to adams.1970@osu.edu, including 1) a letter of motivation (your interests, past experience, and why you w ant to work with me), 2) a CV, 3) an unofficial transcript,
4) GRE scores and pe rcentiles, and 5) the names and addresses of three references. Students from non-English speaking countries should also provide TOFEL scores. PLEASE INDICATE "Graduate position - Fall 2018" in your subject line.


Rachelle M. M. Adams


Learn more: megalomyrmex.osu.edu

The Ohio State University
Rachelle M. M. Adams, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology Museum of
Biological Diversity
MBD 1500, 1315 Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH 43212
+1-614-292-6980 (Main Office) / +1-614-292-6579 (Office) / +1-614-292-9794 (Lab)

Deadline for applications for Fall 2018 admission: 1 December 2017

Posted 2/11/2017

PhD & MSc: Honey Bee Foraging Ecology and Pollinator Health, Virginia Tech

The Couvillon Lab at Virginia Tech seeks highly motivated, independent students with a keen interest in both basic and applied questions related to honey bee foraging and recruitment behavior and/or pollinator health to join our newly established research group (http://www.freelyflyingbees.com/) in the late spring or early autumn 2018 under Dr. Margaret Couvillon, Assistant Professor of Pollinator Biology and Ecology in the Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia.

Available positions: One PhD (4 years) and one MSc/MS (2 years) position studying the foraging ecology of honey bees and other pollinators in the Couvillon Lab.

Application deadline: 15 December, 2017

Start date: late spring or early autumn 2018 (but open to negotiation)

Potential applied and basic science projects may include these questions:

MSc requirements:

Additional PhD requirements:

Please note that the selected candidates for the positions must then apply and be accepted into the Graduate School at Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech is an equal opportunity employer.

We offer:

Blacksburg is a lovely college town set between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains with many outdoor opportunities, high standard of living, and a warm and welcoming community feel.

Please email your application to Dr. Couvillon as a single pdf attachment. Application should include a cover letter (1-2 pages) introducing yourself and describing your background and research interests, a CV, and the contact information for two potential academic references before December 15, 2017. Please remember to indicate which position interests you. A short list of candidates will be invited to interview either in person or over Skype in January 2018, and selection should occur by February 2018.

For more details on the research and our lab, please see www.freelyflyingbees.com or contact Dr. Maggie Couvillon (mjc@vt.edu) directly. You may also "Join" our Facebook page "The BeeGroup at VT".


Posted 2/11/2017

PhD: Geoengineering impact of wood ants, York

Wood ants on the move: geoengineering impacts of wood ants as they move into new territory

Supervisors:  Dr Elva Robinson  (University of York), Dr Kelly Redeker (University of York) & Dr Kate Parr (University of Liverpool)

We are looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious student to develop an exciting project that will combine biogeochemical field data and ecological modelling to quantify and predict how wood ants affect regional forest 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.

Forestry, mainly plantations, occupies 13% of British land area. The fragmentation of British woodlands adds further challenges, particularly for locally dispersing habitat specialists, e.g. wood ants (Formica rufa group). These species, threatened across Europe, are key components of woodland ecosystems. Recent work indicates wood ant populations in the North York Moors are expanding from ancient woodland into plantations. This ongoing expansion allows us to explore the impact of ant behavior on forest function within forests with long-term, recent and no ant nest presence.

Ant mapping data, including 3 years’ expansion at population margins, will be used to identify sampling sites in which ant behavior and a range of soil functional data will be collected (e.g.- soil pH, trace gas fluxes, bulk density and nutrient loading). These data will be used to quantify the impact of ant presence on soil qualities and function and this may be used to predict invasive impacts. There is a significant field work component that will be combined with substantial laboratory analyses.


   a) To predict the impact on soil function of the spread into new habitat of a woodland specialist.
        Specifically to quantify:
            i. The impact on soil chemical/physical properties over short and longer-term time scales
            ii. The impact on soil microbial community over short and longer time scales
   b) To provide advice for forest managers regarding ecological and climate impact of management activities.

Applications and benefits

The student will receive thorough postgraduate training supported by a multidisciplinary team of supervisors with strong research backgrounds and experience in postgraduate supervision. The student will gain ecological research skills including: empirical field techniques; cutting-edge laboratory
equipment techniques; spatial analysis methods. This study will provide novel data on dispersal impacts in woodland species: it will benefit the academic ecology/evolution communities, policy-makers and forest managers.

Funding:  This is a NERC ACCE studentship fully funded for 3.5 years and covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,533 for 2017-2018, to be confirmed for 2018-2019), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.

The studentship is available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements. 

For more information and how to apply see:

Closing date for Applications: 7 January 2018

Posted 2/11/2017

PhD studentship: Dominance and policing in bumble bees, University of East Anglia

A fully-funded PhD studentship to start in October 2018 in Andrew Bourke's group in the School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, is now open for applications. The project is entitled 'Dominance and policing in bumble bees' and will use experimental and genetic methods (microsatellites, SNPs) to test hypotheses regarding the origin and maintenance of selfish egg-laying by bumble bee workers. The studentship will be funded by NERC as part of the EnvEast Doctoral Training Partnership (http://www.enveast.ac.uk/).

For further details of the project (BOURKEUBIO18EE) and instructions on how to apply, please follow this link:


The closing date for applications is Monday 8 January 2018.

Posted 2/11/2017

2 Post-docs: The genomic and neural basis of facial recognition in paper wasps, Cornell

The Sheehan lab (sheehanlab.weebly.com) at Cornell University is looking to recruit 2 postdocs to work on projects to understand the genomic and neural basis of individual facial recognition in paper wasps. Among its close relatives, the paper wasp Polistes fuscatus is unique in that it uses highly variable facial patterns to recognize individuals. The recent evolution of this complex behavior, coupled with small genomes and very high recombination rates make paper wasps an unusually tractable systems for investigating the genetic basis of behavioral and cognitive evolution.

We are currently seeking postdocs to begin work on two inter-related aspects of a recently funded project:

1. The evolution of neural architecture underlying social cognition

Using a combination of staining, imaging and recording techniques the postdoc will determine regions of the wasp brain that are involved in processing individually distinctive facial signals.

For this aspect of the work, prior experience working with insect neurobiology is strongly desired.

2. Population, comparative and functional genomic approaches to identifying the genomic basis of social cognition

Preliminary work in the lab has identified a number of narrowly defined candidate regions under selection that have likely been evolving in response to selection for novel cognitive abilities related to individual recognition in P. fuscatus. We are now interested to further characterize their effects on brain development or processing.

For this aspect of the work, prior experience working in genomics is highly desirable.

Start dates for positions are flexible. Funding is available now, though I would anticipate start dates after January or even into the summer. In both cases, postdocs in the lab will be encouraged to develop independent projects related to the broader goals of the lab on the evolution of social behavior.

If the neural and/or genomic basis of social cognition is interesting to you, please get in touch!

The Sheehan lab is housed in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University (nbb.cornell.edu), which brings together neurobiology and the study of the evolution of behavior. Cornell is a leading center for the development and implementation of neural imaging technology (https://neurotech.cornell.edu/) and also has a very strong presence of comparative and evolutionary genomics on campus (3cpg.cornell.edu).

Those interested in a postdoctoral position in the lab should contact Michael Sheehan directly (msheehan@cornell.edu<mailto:msheehan@cornell.edu>) and send along your statement of your interests and a CV. There is no deadline per se, review will be rolling until positions are filled

Michael J Sheehan
Assistant Professor
Nancy and Peter Meinig Investigator in the Life Sciences
Neurobiology and Behavior
Cornell University
W303 Mudd Hall
215 Tower Rd
Ithaca NY, 14853
e-mail: msheehan@cornell.edu

Posted 1/10/2017

Staff Research Scientist: Animal Behavior, STRI, Panama

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI; www.stri.si.edu), headquartered in the Republic of Panama, is seeking an outstanding behavioral biologist to establish an independent world-class research program in animal behavior. The successful candidate will apply a deep understanding of natural history to resolve basic questions about behavioral mechanisms, evolutionary processes, and adaptive function. Areas of specialty may include, but are not limited, to behavioral ecology, evolution of behavior, sensory and neuroethology, chemical ecology of behavior, behavior developmental physiology and functional morphology, and the genetic basis of behavior. Candidates working on any animal taxa, marine or terrestrial, will be considered. Previous experience working in the tropics is not required. The successful candidate will have opportunities to mentor pre- and post-doctoral fellows drawn from an international community, and collaborate with the entire Smithsonian staff.

STRI has state-of-the-art research facilities, as well as terrestrial and marine field stations, and reserves throughout the country. There are environmental monitoring facilities, a large, multilingual support staff, and a library with extensive holdings in the natural sciences, as well as electronic access to all the Smithsonian libraries. The Republic of Panama and the adjacent regions of tropical America are phenomenally rich in terrestrial and marine habitats. The new staff member will join a vibrant scientific community of 30 staff scientists, and an international community of over 1500 scientific visitors per year, including fellows and interns supported through the Smithsonian. Staff scientists maintain diverse research programs covering ecology, evolution, physiology, development, and behavior of marine and terrestrial organisms and ecosystems, both ancient and modern, and the role of human interactions in shaping tropical environments. Staff scientists are not limited to conducting their research in or near Panama. The position consists of full-time research. Internal funds are provided for laboratory setup, core ongoing research and travel. Staff scientists may supplement their basic yearly research budget by competing for additional intramural and external research funds. Staff scientists are evaluated on their research accomplishments. There is no official tenure, but rather a system of periodic reviews that allows for long-term research projects. For more information on working at STRI see the FAQ: http://www.stri.si.edu/recruiter/users/jobs.php?id4

No formal teaching is required, but in addition to mentoring post-doctoral fellows, students, and interns, STRI scientists are encouraged to teach in graduate training programs with affiliated universities, and to participate in outreach to local and international audiences. Early- to mid-career candidates are encouraged. Annual salary is commensurate with experience. Compensation packages are internationally competitive, and include allowances to support educational expenses for dependent children at international schools. The position is based in the Republic of Panama. Relocation expenses are provided.

Qualifications: A Ph.D. and post-doctoral research experience in a relevant field, an outstanding publication record, demonstrated success in obtaining research grants, a history of successful collaborative research, and demonstrated skill in communicating science to the public.

To Apply: Please submit the following as PDF files: a cover letter, curriculum vitae, statement of research accomplishments and interests in animal behavior and related fields, PDFs of three to five significant publications, and the names and contact information of three references to strisearch@si.edu. Address inquiries to Dr. Rachel Page, Chair, Animal Behavior Search Committee, at PageR@si.edu.

Positions are open until filled; review of applications will begin on November 15, 2017 and interviews will commence shortly thereafter.

STRI is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to diversity in its workforce. Appointments are made without regard to nationality. In addition this position in animal behavior, STRI is currently filling staff scientist positions in terrestrial microbial ecology, forest biology and marine biology, and is supportive of the needs of dual career couples. For more information on the positions STRI is offering, please see our webpage: http://www.stri.si.edu/recruiter/users/jobs.php?id4

Posted 21/9/2017

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 2, 2017