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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 Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Overview of vacancies on this page:

PhD: Evolution of social signal diversity, Bath

M.Sc.: The evolution of division of labor in social hymenopterans – a neurohormonal view, University of Memphis

PhD: Ecology and conservation of the myrmecophilous Silver Studded Blue butterfly, Nottingham Trent University

Assistant/Associate Professor: Insect Ecology, Auburn University

PhD: Evolution of social signal diversity, Bath

Application deadline: 9 January 2023

Supervisory Team:
Lead Supervisor: Jason Wolf, University of Bath, Milner Centre for Evolution
Co-Supervisor: Bram Kuijper, University of Exeter, Centre for Ecology and Conservation

This project is aimed at understanding how loci, such as greenbeard recognition systems, evolve, with the goals of understanding the processes governing their level of polymorphism and their genic content. In many natural systems, greenbeard loci are highly diverse and composed of multiple genes, so part of the overall goals are to explain these patterns, but with an eye towards more general evolutionary processes. The project aims are hierarchical and flexible, proving many opportunities for student led avenues of inquiry around this primary problem. The project will build from the development of theoretical models to understand the fundamental processes shaping greenbeard (and conceptually related) systems. Some of the primary predictions from this theory can be tested using computational approaches applied to existing datasets, with an aim of not only characterising the patterns of polymorphism observed in nature, but also in understanding why some types of variation are present but not others (i.e., not just measuring observed sequence variation, but trying to explain why that particular pattern of variation is present in nature).

Previous training in mathematics and modelling is useful, but is not essential. Students will be provided with appropriate specialised training as needed to accommodate students from a diversity of backgrounds.

This is a fully funded PhD position open to students worldwide.

To apply, please visit: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/nerc-gw4-dtp-phd-project-evolution-of-social-signal-diversity/?p148391

Posted 3/1/2023

M.Sc.: The evolution of division of labor in social hymenopterans – a neurohormonal view, University of Memphis

Application deadline: 10 January 2023

The Kohlmeier lab at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Memphis, TN is recruiting a bright and motivated graduate student (M.Sc. level) to start 08/15/2023 to explore the evolution of the neurohormonal mechanisms that regulate division of labor social hymenopterans.

Background: In the colonies of social hymenopterans (ants, some bees and wasps), queens monopolize reproduction while the workers take over all other tasks, such as brood care and foraging. Which task a worker specializes in is associated with the individual responsiveness to task-related cues e.g., pheromones or sugar. Increasing evidence suggests that responsiveness – in turn – is influenced by the insect hormone Juvenile Hormone (JH). However, how JH impacts responsiveness and how it gained this function is unknown.

The project: Based on recent studies on Drosophila, we hypothesize that JH regulates responsiveness by binding to neuronal circuits that control behavior and by changing their sensitivity. Using the solitary blue orchard bee a combination of Drosophila neurogenetics, pharmacological manipulations, video recordings of individual bees, behavioral experiments, and RNA-sequencing, this project aims at testing this hypothesis.

How to apply:
Please compile the following documents into a single pdf file and send them to pkhlmier@memphis.edu:

Application deadline is 01/10/2023.

Contact info:
Dr Philip Kohlmeier / pkhlmier@memphis.edu / https://kohlmeierlab.com

Posted 3/1/2023

PhD: Ecology and conservation of the myrmecophilous Silver Studded Blue butterfly, Nottingham Trent University

Application deadline: 12 January 2023, 12:00 (GMT)

Project ID: ARES4

The Silver-Studded Blue (Plebejus argus) is a small butterfly found mainly in heathland habitats. It has a restricted distribution and has undergone major population declines throughout most of its range.

The National Trust and Butterfly Conservation are considering a project to reintroduce P. argus to Clumber Park, the last known site for this species in Nottinghamshire. The butterfly is an obligate myrmecophile requiring association with ant species such as Lasius niger to complete its lifecycle. To increase the likelihood of successful reintroduction, it is crucial that butterfly eggs/ caterpillars are placed within foraging range of a host ant nest to maximise the chance of them being taken back into the nest for protection against predation and parasites until they pupate and emerge as adult butterflies. In 2022 an ant survey mapped the distribution of ant nests across the proposed reintroduction site, but vital research questions on ant foraging ranges and host ant species specificity remain. Understanding this is crucial to achieving a successful reintroduction of the SSB butterfly.

In collaboration with The National Trust and the University of York this project gives you the opportunity to study three aspects of the Silver-Studded Blue ecology:

  1. Using mesocosm experiments you will examine the specificity of mutualistic interactions between the larvae of the Silver-Studded Blue butterfly and various ant species. You will quantify the cost and/or benefits of pupae interactions with different ant species.
  2. Using field surveys and experiments, you will investigate the complexities of interactions influencing foraging distances of ants from different sized colonies, in different microhabitats at different times of year.
  3. You will explore oviposition preferences of adult butterflies for egg laying. This will be carried out using oviposition observations and by conducting egg count surveys to look at preferred vegetation types and degrees of shelter.

Overall, you will investigate multiple aspects of the lifecycle of the Silver-Studded Blue to inform conservation efforts to expand the species’ current range in the Midlands of the UK.

Supervisory Team:
Dr Helen Hicks (NTU)
Dr Elva Robinson (University of York)
Carl Hawke (National Trust)
Rhoda Goddard (Butterfly Conservation)

To apply, please visit: https://www.ntu.ac.uk/research/find-a-phd-opportunity/studentship-projects/the-ecology-and-conservation-of-the-silver-studded-blue-plebejus-argus-implications-for-reintroduction-projects

Posted 3/1/2023

Assistant/Associate Professor: Insect Ecology, Auburn University

No deadline given, but review of applications began on 28 November 2022

Posting Number P0951F

Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at Auburn University invites applications for an Assistant/Associate Professor of Entomology with expertise in Insect Ecology. The expected start date is August 2023.

In this 9-month tenure-track position, you will have 75% research and 25% instruction responsibilities. Your primary research efforts will be in grant proposal writing, management of funded projects, scientific outputs such as papers and presentations, as well as support and mentoring of graduate students. Extramural funding through state and federal agencies will be the primary way to support your programs, personnel, and summary salary. Your program should be collaborative and strive to attain regional, national, and international recognition. For instruction, you will be required to provide 6 credit hours of instruction annually and demonstrate scholarship in instruction. The course load may include an undergraduate course or a graduate course in your area of expertise. All faculty positions also have an expectation of service. This may include department, college or university service or service to your professional society.

Minimum Qualifications:
You must have an earned doctoral degree in Entomology, Ecology, Biology, or a related discipline and meet eligibility requirements for work in the United States at the time of employment begins. The application package should include evidence of research productivity (publications, grants, etc.) commensurate with career level, and demonstrate how your knowledge and experiences align with the expected responsibilities. The research approach can be basic or applied, but you should demonstrate experience in modern techniques or cutting-edge technologies. Relative to instruction, your application package should describe all relevant teaching experiences in undergraduate and graduate courses as well as student mentoring experience. Effective interpersonal and technical oral and written communication skills are required.

Desired Qualifications:
You must possess excellent organizational skills and postdoctoral research experience is desired. Desirable areas of expertise for this position include either chemical, community, molecular, behavioral ecology, or neurophysiology.

Special Instructions to Applicants
To apply or for more details, follow this link: https://www.auemployment.com/postings/32830. Complete applications must include: 1) Letter of interest, 2) curriculum vitae, 3) statement of teaching philosophy 4) statement of research philosophy 5) statement on commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and 6) transcripts for MS and PhD. When prompted during the on-line process, please provide names, phone numbers and email addresses of three professional references. Only complete application materials will be considered. Active review of applications will begin on November 28, 2022 and may continue until the position is filled. Any questions should be sent to the Search Chair, Dr. Nannan Liu, liunann@auburn.edu.

Posted 19/10/2022

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 3, 2023