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Offre de thèse : how temporal activity cycles affect disease transmission dynamics in ant colonies at the university of Bristol

The Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Bristol is currently offering 5 fully-funded PhD studentships for international students, with one available project to work in my lab to study how temporal activity cycles affect disease transmission dynamics in ant colonies.

The studentships are specifically aimed at non-UK students who do not qualify for UK/Home tuition fees, and will fully cover a personal stipend, international tuition fees and bench fees for 4 years. It is a great opportunity for students from all-over the world to study in the UK.

A blurb for the project is provided below and more information can be found here (https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/temporal-activity-cycles-and-disease-transmission-dynamics-in-ant-colonies/?p142922 for my own project; https://www.findaphd.com/phds/program/5-fully-funded-phd-studentships-for-international-students/?p5658 for the studentships in general).

Our lab looking for candidates with a background in animal behaviour and/or computational biology, and an eagerness to learn and apply a variety of approaches (automated behavioural tracking, writing own code to analyse data, experimental design, lab work). I would be very grateful if you could forward this email to your colleagues and students in relevant programmes (in particular MSc or BSc programmes), or anyone who may be interested.

Many thanks in advance for your help!

Best wishes,
Nathalie Stroeymeyt

 

Project Blurb:

4-year PhD studentship for international students  – apply by April 28th 2022 23:59 GMT

A fully funded 4-year PhD studentship for international students available in the research group of Dr Nathalie Stroeymeyt in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, to study the effect of temporal activity cycles on disease transmission dynamics in ant colonies.

Background

Group living offers favourable conditions for the spread of infectious diseases, because high population densities and frequent social contacts facilitate pathogen transmission. To mitigate that risk, social animals have evolved a variety of defence mechanisms to prevent the entry and propagation of pathogens within the group, ranging from a raised investment in personal immunity to highly coordinated collective sanitary actions (‘social immunity’). Recent studies have shown that social groups can also adopt organizational features, such as the subdivision into well-separated subgroups, which reduce epidemic risk through transmission bottleneck effects. However, the importance of organizational immunity features in disease risk management by real animal groups is still poorly understood. Our research adopts an empirical approach based on the experimental manipulations of garden ant colonies (Lasius niger) to (i) quantify the effect of social organization on disease transmission and test key predictions from network epidemiology, and (ii) evaluate the relative of importance of personal immunity, collective sanitary actions and organizational features under different environmental conditions and at different stages of development (for more detail see https://stroeymeyt-lab.co.uk/research).

The project

Whilst recent experimental work has highlighted the importance of spatio-social organisation in shaping interaction networks and determining epidemic risks in ants [1], the prediction that temporal heterogeneities in activity should also have a strong impact on disease transmission within social groups has received very little attention [2, 3]. This PhD project will aim to use experimental manipulations to investigate the effect of short-term temporal activity cycles on transmission dynamics in ants. Using an automated behavioural tracking system [1, 3], the candidate will quantify short-term activity cycles within Leptothorax acervorum ant colonies and design reliable methods to manipulate these activity cycles (e.g. either disrupt them, accelerate them or slow them down). These methods will then be used to carry-out fully-controlled experiment testing the effect of experimental manipulations of the colony’s activity cycles on the transmission dynamics of both pathogenic and non-pathogenic agents through the colony. This project should provide the first formal empirical test of whether coordinated bursts of activity within a social group slows down the propagation of disease through ant colonies, and whether activity synchronization may be used as a strategy to fight diseases.

Desired profile

We are looking for candidates with a background in animal behaviour and/or computational biology, and an eagerness to learn and apply a variety of approaches (behavioural tracking, writing own code to analyse data, lab work). Candidates should be creative and motivated, have good oral and written communication skills, and be at ease working both independently and as part of a team. Candidates must be eligible for ‘home’ fee status in the UK.

The position

The position will be part of an overall project team consisting of three PhD students and three post-doctoral researchers and will be fully funded for four years (stipend + overseas tuition fees + bench fees) by the University of Bristol. Only international students that do not qualify for home fee status may apply.

Expected starting date

September 2022.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying, please get in contact with Dr Nathalie Stroeymeyt (nathalie.stroeymeyt@bristol.ac.uk) and consult the official add on FindAPhD (click here). Formal applications should be submitted on the online application portal (click here) by Friday April 28th 2022 23:59 GMT. More information on the Faaculty of Life Science studentships and other available projects can be found here.

References

  1. Stroeymeyt, N., et al. Science, 2018. 362(6417): p. 941-945.
  2. Richardson, T.O. and T.E. Gorochowski. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2015. 12(111).
  3. Richardson, T.O., et al. PLOS Computational Biology, 2017. 13(5): p. e1005527.

Offre de stage césure – automne 2021 – Suivi des communautés d’arthropodes de l’île de Bagaud (réserve intégrale du Parc national de Port-Cros).

Titre du sujet de stage :
Suivi des communautés d’arthropodes de l’île de Bagaud (réserve intégrale du Parc national de Port-Cros) suite au contrôle simultanée de deux espèces exotiques envahissantes.

Structure :
IMBE – Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologue UMR CNRS-IRD Avignon Univ. Aix Marseille Univ.
Adresse de stage : IUT, site Agroparc BP 61207
Code postal : 84911
Ville : Avignon cedex 09
Site web :
https://univ-avignon.fr/recherche/umr-cnrs-7263-ird-237-imbe-institut-mediterraneen-de-biodiversite-et-d-ecologie-1216.kjsp
https://www.imbe.fr/ingenierie-de-la-restauration-des.html

Encadrante du stage :
Elise BUISSON, IUT d’Avignon, Agroparc
04 90 84 38 58
elise.buisson@univ-avignon.fr
https://univ-avignon.fr/mme-elise-buisson–23756.kjsp

Mots-clés :
Arthropodes, espèces exotiques envahissantes, biodiversité insulaire, biomonitoring, insectes

Résumé du sujet :
L’île de Bagaud est une réserve intégrale du Parc national de Port-Cros située dans l’archipel des îles d’Hyères (Var, France) qui a été soumise à deux perturbations majeures au cours des derniers siècles : l’invasion par le Rat noir (Rattus rattus) et par les Griffes de sorcière (Carpobrotus spp.). La communauté des Arthropodes de l’île a fait l’objet d’un état initial en 2010 et 2011, le contrôle des espèces invasives a été effectué entre septembre 2011 et janvier 2013, et la première campagne de suivi post-contrôle a débuté au printemps 2013. L’échantillonnage des arthropodes du sol est réalisé au moyen de pièges à fosse (« Barber ») répartis dans différents milieux de l’île. Il s’agira d’analyser les éventuelles conséquences de ces contrôles sur la composition, la structure, la richesse spécifique et fonctionnelle, des communautés d’arthropodes.

Profil du candidat et compétences requises :
Stage de césure courant automne 2021 (école d’ingénieurs ou Master d’Ecologie)
Intérêt pour l’étude et le suivi des insectes et autres arthropodes
Patience pour le de tri des individus sous loupe binoculaire

Activités assurées par l’étudiant :
Gestion de la collection d’échantillons, tri des arthropodes contenus dans les pièges sous loupe binoculaire à l’ordre.

Autres activités selon affinité :
Spécialisation sur l’identification d’un groupe d’arthropodes en particulier (araignées, coléoptères, fourmis, hétéroptères ou hyménoptères). Veille bibliographique. Analyses statistiques, rédaction d’un rapport. Biocontrôle du Carpobrotus sur le terrain.

Conditions de travail :
Durée : environ 3 mois et demi avec un début de stage courant septembre jusqu’à mi-décembre. Flexible.
Indemnisation selon le barème légal (573 euros/mois)
Bureau sur Avignon (IUT Avignon, site Agroparc)
Missions sur le terrain rares (frais de déplacements remboursés).

Candidature :
Lettre de motivation, CV, résultats M1 (ou équivalent pour écoles d’ingénieurs) à envoyer par courriel à : elise.buisson@univ-avignon.fr
Il est également possible de joindre une lettre de recommandations.
Merci de bien vouloir mentionner les dates de stage envisagées dans la lettre de motivation.
Les candidatures seront étudiées au fur et à mesure de leur réception.