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:
– How and when do honey bees forage across diverse, representative landscapes?
– How do these foraging dynamics relate to the abundance, diversity, and health of non-Apis bees?
– How do foraging behaviors affect colony exposure to other stressors, such as pesticides?
– What are the evolutionary causes and adaptive / non-adaptive consequences of honey bee waggle dance (mis)communication? (in collaboration with Schurch lab at Virginia Tech)
– BSc/BS in Biology, Entomology, Evolutionary Biology, Landscape Ecology or related STEM field
– An excitement for working with live, whole organisms (that sting!)
– A willingness to learn new skills, such as experimental design, scientific reproducibility, statistics, GIS, and insect identification
– Proficiency in English and excellent verbal and written communication skills
– A collaborative, helpful, team-oriented spirit
Additional PhD requirements:
– An MSc/MS in Biology, Entomology, Evolutionary Biology Landscape Ecology, or related STEM field
– If you are from an international location where English is not your first language, you will be required to take the TOEFL (see Graduate School 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.
– A funded position (MSc/MS or PhD) working with economically vital and scientifically fascinating insects
– Training as a well-rounded, critically-thinking scientist
– Exciting combination of field studies and experiments with freely flying and behaving bees; new methods in video and landscape analysis with ArcGIS; opportunities to learn experimental design, scientific reproducibility, and statistical modelling
– Regular collaborations with other research teams in the department, university, and within the larger field
– A Departmental instructional program offering a variety of basic and applied courses
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly. You may also “Join” our Facebook page “The BeeGroup at VT”.
Couvillon, Schurch & Ratnieks (2014). Dancing bees communicate a foraging preference for rural lands in High Level Agri-Environment Schemes. Current Biol 24(11), 1212-1215.
Couvillon, Schurch & Ratnieks (2014) Waggle dance distances as integrative indicators of seasonal foraging challenges. PLOS One, 9 (4), e93495.
Couvillon & Ratnieks (2015). Environmental consultancy: dancing bee bioindicators to evaluate landscape “health”. Frontiers in Ecol and Evol 3, 44.
Schurch, Ratnieks, Samuelson, & Couvillon (2016). Dancing to her own beat: honey bee foragers communicate via individually calibrated waggle dances. J Exp Biol 219 (9), 1287-1289.
Couvillon, Al Toufailia, Butterfield, Schrell, Ratnieks, Schurch (2015). Buzzing bees: caffeinated forage tricks honey bees into increasing foraging and recruitment behaviors. Current Biol 25 (21), 2815-2818.